SOCHI, Russia — Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu made figure skating history, and now can chase even more of it.

He'll do so without having to fend off a challenge from another record-setter, Russia's Evgeni Plushenko.

Hanyu became the first figure skater to break the 100-point mark with a spectacular performance in the men's short program on Thursday night at the Sochi Games. He earned 101.45 points with a playful, almost seductive routine in which he seemed to flow above the ice.

Meanwhile, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs freshman Jason Brown put on the performance of his young skating career to finish sixth. He's within the width of a skate blade of third heading into Friday's free skate.

"All year in this program, in every competition I have gone to, I have gotten a personal best," the 19-year-old Brown said. "I didn't want to stop in the Olympics."

The night began with wild swings, from Plushenko falling in warmups to Cheyenne Mountain High School graduate and U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott crashing.

Overall, the night belonged to Hanyu.

"I was so surprised with my score," Hanyu said. "I didn't know I got over 100."

He shouldn't have been, considering the speed, sharpness, entertainment value and total conviction of his skating. The stunned 19-year-old also won the men's short program in the team event.

While Hanyu was soaring to a nearly 4-point lead over three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada, Plushenko finished his stellar career with another injury.

The only figure skater in the modern era to win medals in four games, including gold in the new team event last weekend, Plushenko hurt his back in training Wednesday. He gave it a go in warmups before Thursday's short program, but after falling on a triple axel, he knew he was done.

"I said to myself, 'Evgeni, you must skate. It's two more days, short and long program,'" the 31-year-old and 2006 Olympic gold medalist said.

But he could not.

"I think it's God saying, 'Evgeni, enough, enough with skating,'" added Plushenko, who said he's had 12 surgeries.

No man from an Asian nation or Canada has even won Olympic gold in figure skating. Chan, who was fifth in Vancouver, put on his best Olympic routine to stay within sight of Hanyu.

"Four points in singles men's is not much," Chan said. "I like being in second. I like being in the chase. It's exciting to me."

Javier Fernandez of Spain, a country that's never won an Olympic figure skating medal, was third with 86.98.

Hanyu and Fernandez are coached by Brian Orser, who guided South Korea's Yuna Kim to women's gold in Vancouver. Because they skated consecutively, Orser had to scramble to change from a gray blazer to a Spain team jacket, but first he sprinted over to congratulate his Japanese student.

The four-time U.S. champ nailed every subsequent element to wind up 15th.

"I'm not in the least bit ashamed," Abbott said. "I stood up and I finished that program and I'm proud of my effort and I'm proud of what I did under the circumstance."

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AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen and freelancer Marie Millikan contributed to this story.

 

 

 

Jason Brown scored recorded a season-best score and was sitting in fifth place with three skaters yet to compete in the men’s short program Thursday at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs freshman scored 86.00, making him one of eight to score in the 80s.

Japan’s Yuzuru Han holds the lead at 101.45, followed by Canada’s Patrick Chan at 97.52.

Jeremy Abbott, who grew up in Colorado Springs, is in 12th despite falling hard while attempting a quadruple toe loop.

Abbott, the U.S. champion, crashed to the ice on his first jump and slid into the padded end boards, staying down for an extended period, clutching his right hip. He looked like he wouldn't get up, and his coaches moved toward the entry door to the ice.

But Abbott, 28, struggled to his feet and, to the surprise of many and the applause of the crowd, resumed skating.

And he performed quite well, hitting the rest of his elements.

Earlier Thursday, Evgeni Plushenko retired from competitive figure skating just after he withdrew from the men's competition for medical reasons.

The 31-year-old Plushenko is the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics. He helped Russia win the team gold over the weekend.

In warmups before the short program, he fell on a triple axel and said it felt "like a knife in my back." He skated toward his coaches while bent over, then tried to loosen up by skating around the Iceberg rink some more.

 

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