SOCHI, Russia -- American Jason Brown put on the performance his young skating career to finish sixth in the men's short program on Thursday. He's within the width of a skate blade of third heading into Friday's free skate.

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 "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."

Brown, a freshman at Colorado-Colorado Springs freshman, will be the final skater Friday night. Fernandez leads off the last group of six, with Takahashi second, Hanyu third and Chan fourth. Peter Liebers of Germany is the other skater in the final group.

The night began with wild swings, from Plushenko falling in warmups to U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott crashing. Abbott stayed down for a lengthy period after his fall, and just when coach Yuka Sato was about to open the entry door to help him, he struggled to his feet and continued his program.

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