Olympic figure skating preview: 10 men to watch

Fourth-Place Medal

The men's figure skating field in Sochi is deep, with two returning medalists and a slew of talented jumpers. Unlike Vancouver, the four-revolution quadruple jump will determine which men will stand on the podium. Yahoo Sports breaks down the contenders:

1. Patrick Chan (CAN)

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The three-time and reigning world champion is a heavy favorite. He's artistic and athletic. If Chan has one weakness, it's the Axel jump. Far too often, he does a double instead of a triple. Since the Axel is required in both the short program and free skate, he could leave a lot of points on the table. 

2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)

Don't let Hanyu's slight build deceive you, he's a formidable jumper. He's been the only skater to defeat Chan this season (setting a world record in the process) and leads a powerful Japanese contingent.

3. Javier Fernandez (ESP)

The Spanish skater is a bit of a heartthrob among fans and has charming choreography. But the European champion will need both quads in his arsenal -- the toe-loop and Salchow -- to vie for a medal.

4. Evgeni Plushenko (RUS)

Plushenko was controversially awarded Russia's sole entry, despite finishing second at his nationals and skipping the European Championships. The three-time Olympic medalist has struggled with back injuries, but he is a fierce competitor. Bolstered by the home crowd, Plushenko cannot be overlooked.

5. Daisuke Takahashi (JPN)

The reigning Olympic bronze medalist has also had his fair share of injuries. He's a passionate performer, but his inability to land a clean quad left him in fifth place at the his nationals. He was still selected for Sochi and will seek redemption there.

6. Tatsuki Machida (JPN)

The third member of the Japanese team is perfectly capable of medaling as well. If Chan falters, it's possible that Japan may sweep the podium.

7. Denis Ten (KAZ)

Ten is the first figure skater from Kazakhstan to ever medal at the World Championships, and nearly took down reigning champion Patrick Chan in doing so. He's struggled with inconsistency since winning the silver but looks to be regaining his form.

8. Jeremy Abbott (USA)

Abbott landed a quad in both progams at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships to win his fourth national title. He's one of the most artistic skaters in the world and is completely committed to his choreography. The key to his success will be staying focused and not doubling out on jumps later in the program.

9. Kevin Reynolds (CAN)

Chan's Canadian teammate has struggled with equipment problems all season long. But he is one of the few men attempting two quads in the short program and three in the free skate. If he lands all his jumps, his technical score will be huge. His presentation has signifcantly as well.

10. Jason Brown (USA)

Brown doesn't have a quadruple jump (he only mastered the triple Axel last season), but he makes up for it with his tremendous performance ability. His "Riverdance" free skate is particularly delightful, full of fancy footwork and difficult jump entrances. He's a real crowd-pleaser.

Who do you think will medal? Share your predictions in the comments below.

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