Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek is counting the days until Sochi

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If you need to know exactly how many days there are until the 2014 Sochi Games, you can either log on to NBCOlympics.com or simply ask figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek. Though one of those might be tougher than the other.

“I’m counting the days [to Sochi],” Lysacek told USA Today – and it’s currently 247. “And keep saying there’s not a single day to waste.”

The 2010 champ hasn’t stepped onto the ice for a competition since winning gold in Vancouver, but he said Tuesday in Los Angeles that he’s on schedule to try something no man has accomplished since American Dick Button in 1948 and 1952: win back-to-back Olympic figure skating titles.

“It’s my 11th week back on the ice,” Lysacek explained. “I’m working my way back through program run-throughs and I’m at the point of where I’d be in any season in June. I’m feeling really good. From a physical standpoint I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.”

Lysacek, 28, had planned to return to competition last fall before a groin injury and a sports hernia surgery ended his season before it began. Now, seemingly 100 percent after focusing on conditioning and core strength with coach Frank Carroll, Lysacek has marked October’s Skate America in Detroit as his official return to the sport. Which is 136 days away.

Until then, Lysacek said he’s been working on his quad jump, which “encompasses every element of physical strength,” to match his skills against hockey player turned newly crowned American champ Max Aaron, three-time world champ Patrick Chan, and “Quad King” Javier Fernandez of Spain.

“[The quad is] such a glamorous thing to talk about since it’s such a dangerous trick and it’s taken our sport to a new level, but a clean program is what skating is about,” Lysacek suggested. “My focus is on getting that quad in, but also doing a clean program and not losing any points.”

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career