Plushenko Off to Strong Start

Evgeny Plushenko had a sore knee. Tim Goebel had stomach flu. Michael Weiss had a bruised ego.

When the men's short program was over, Plushenko was a step away from his second world figure skating title, thanks to a routine that brought him marks of 5.7 to 5.9 for required elements and 5.8s and 5.9s for presentation. Goebel was second after performing a dynamic and clean program to "Romeo and Juliet." But hometown favorite Weiss, who had led his qualifying group, fell on a relatively simple triple lutz and dropped to fourth.

"It was such a silly mistake," he said.

Goebel, the Olympic bronze medalist and 2002 world silver medalist, landed a quad salchow-triple toe loop combination and got technical scores of 5.7s and 5.8s and presentation scores of 5.6 to 5.8.

"I'm just glad things went as well in competition as they went in practice," he said.

Ryan Jahnke, third at the U.S. championships, was seventh after falling on his triple axel.

The men's finale is Thursday.

In ice dance, defending champions Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh of Russia, and Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz of Canada are co-leaders after the compulsory dance.

-- Helene Elliott

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