Returning hero: Plushenko wins short program

Returning hero: Plushenko wins short program

Published Feb. 16, 2010 11:57 p.m. ET

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia has won the short program at the Vancouver Olympics, the first step toward defending his title.

Plushenko's 90.85 points beats world champion Evan Lysacek of the United States by .55, with Japan's Daisuke Takahashi .60 behind the leader heading into the free skate.

The three-man breakaway Tuesday night sets up a compelling free skate on Thursday night.

No man has repeated as Olympic champion since American Dick Button won in 1948 and '52. No American has won the gold since Brian Boitano in 1998, and no Japanese skater has ever won the men's gold.