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Sochi Figure Skating preview (men): Handicapping the men (Part 3)

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After that Group 4 in the short program, you might think that the rest of the competition is going to be a bit anticlimactic. But there are big names in the final group as well, don't forget about these guys.

Related: Men's short skate order

Michal Brezina CZE (Group 5) - A fourth-place finish at Europeans last month put Brezina back on the outsiders map. But his technical elements are just not terribly reliable - and from the looks of it, it's less about his consistency in practice and more about performance in competition. But we've seen Brezina step up to the plate in big-time competition before, so don't be surprised if it happens again.

Denis Ten KAZ (Group 5) - The World silver medalist made so much history with that Worlds performance last season. But the follow-up has not been worthy of his podium finish - injuries have plagued his season. Supremely talented but never the greatest head for competition, Ten is once again in the dark horse role. How has his preparation been and will he be able to pull off the dark horse surprise like he did at Worlds?

Peter Liebers GER (Group 5) - The five-time German champ is coming in on the rise, having his best season ever, and armed with a quad toe that he hit in the short program in the Team Event. He may not be a medal threat, but if you said a season ago that Liebers could contend for the top ten in Sochi in a field this deep, you would be delirious. Not so much nowadays.

Han Yan CHN (Group 5) - Who's showing up? The Han Yan with effortless jumps or the Han Yan who crashes all over the place? Yan is a spectacular talent who is still more jump than style. But he could be a surprise in the short program, with a top-eight finish being more than feasible if he skates well.

Daisuke Takahashi JPN (Group 5) - It hasn't been an easy season for the reigning bronze medalist and the sentimental favorite. He just hasn't looked himself technically, with mistakes on jumps that he has had no problem with for years. Practices in Sochi haven't been going particularly well for him either, and it will take some magic for him to get back onto the podium. But if Takahashi finds himself hitting two clean programs, the gold is certainly within reach - that is, however, a huge if.

Tatsuki Machida JPN (Group 5) - The (somewhat) surprise Japanese entrant in Sochi has had a very solid season, winning two Grand Prix events and taking second at Japanese Nationals. His performance in the Team Event was decent but not spectacular. He's a dark horse for a top-five finish, but the excitement that the other top men generate just isn't there with his programs. That said, he has the ability to surprise.

PREVIOUS: Handicapping the men (Part 2)
NEXT: Men's predictions

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