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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yagudin Astounds With 6 Perfect Scores

ReutersOlympic champion Alexei Yagudin performing during the men's short program at the world figure skating championships in Nagano.
NAGANO, Japan -- Olympic champion Alexei Yagudin made history Tuesday when he was awarded six perfect 6.0 scores in the men's short program to claim the outright lead at the world figure skating championships.

The 22-year-old caused near hysteria among the crowd of 4,000 at Nagano's M-Wave Arena, posting the most combined 6.0s and also the first ever 6.0 for required elements at a world championships as he led a Russian one-two.

Alexander Abt finished the day in second, with American Timothy Goebel, bronze medalist in Salt Lake City, third after a close-fought evening session.

Yagudin landed all his jumps cleanly, including a superbly executed quad-triple combination to open.

Blowing kisses to the crowd as part of his routine, the three-time world champion was showered with flowers and toys from all sides of the arena afterward.

"There is more pressure on me after the Olympics because now everybody expects me to win," said Yagudin. "But today was one of the greatest programs I have ever skated. I was doing a show out there."

Yagudin is now the overwhelming favorite to add another world title to his hat trick of victories in 1998, 1999 and 2000 in Thursday's free program, which is worth 50 percent of the overall score.

Abt briefly threatened to steal the show with a powerful display that earned him six 5.8 scores for presentation until Yagudin left the judges in no doubt.

Ukrainian judge Yuri Klushnikov awarded Yagudin two 6.0s, while the judges from the United States, Japan, Germany and Ajerbaijan also gave sixes for presentation.

Goebel, who was expected to give Yagudin a run for his money in the absence of Russian Olympic silver medalist Yevgeny Plushenko, admitted that he missed an opportunity to put pressure on the favorite.

"My routine was flat and I didn't have the spark that I had [in qualifying] yesterday [Monday]," said the Californian, who now has to win the free program and hope Yagudin finishes no higher than third to stand any chance of pinching the title.

Japan's Takeshi Honda placed third in the short program to finish the day in fourth place overall.

Earlier, Olympic ice dancing silver medalists Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh followed the formbook by leading after the compulsory section.

The Russians scored mostly 5.7s and 5.8s in both the Golden Waltz and the Quickstep segments to lead Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz of Canada in an event their country has dominated down the years.

Lobacheva and Averbukh, who finished behind Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat in Salt Lake City last month, are looking to win their first world title and become the 24th ice dance world champions from Russia or the former Soviet Union since 1970.