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World Figure Skating Championship: Plushenko Wins Men's Short Program - 2003-03-26

The 2003 World Figure Skating Championships continue, here in the nation's capital.

Russian star Evgeni Plushenko overcame a sore knee to easily win the short program. The only former champion in the field had a slight problem at the end of his triple axel jump. Even so, he had scores no lower than 5.7 out of six.

"Actually, when I jumped the triple axel I had a problem with my knee and I felt pain, but finally I landed it," he said. "This year, I had trouble with my left knee, but I can skate and I can walk, so that's good."

American Tim Goebel skated one of the best short programs of his career, to gain the second spot. Japan's Takeshi Honda landed a quadruple-double jump combination to place third.

American Michael Weiss, who had finished atop one of the qualifying groups Monday, had a clean program going in front of a partisan crowd, until he fell after his triple lutz.

"Usually the crowd just brings me along, and I was really getting involved and getting into it, and I felt about ready to bring them to their feet right at the end of that program, easily. And, I was just shocked after that miss," he said.

Weiss ended up fourth, but says he remains confident heading into the long free skate program, Thursday night. That event will decide the medals.

The first medals at these World Championships will be awarded to the pairs skaters, Wednesday night. The favorites and leaders after the short program are Russians Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin. No American pairs are in the top 10.

Earlier in the day, the ice dancers performed their compulsory dance. The leaders of Group A were Russian husband and wife Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh, who have been unbeatable since winning the silver medal at last year's Olympics. Leading Group-B were Canadians Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz. American ice dancers Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev, and Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto were fourth in each group.