Evan Lysacek set for first competition since 2010 Olympics

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2010 Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek‘s long-awaited return is less than two months away.

U.S. Figure Skating announced Lysacek as one of the entries for the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City from Sept. 11-15.

Other U.S. skaters in the event include 2010 Olympic silver medalists and world champions in ice dancing Meryl Davis and Charlie White, reigning U.S. men’s champion Max Aaron and nationals runner-up Gracie Gold.

Lysacek, 28, appeared close to returning each of the last three seasons. He did not skate in 2011-12 due to disagreements with U.S. Figure Skating.

He was set to compete at Skate America in 2012, only to withdraw with a groin injury. He had sports hernia surgery in November, which caused him to miss the U.S. Championships in January.

In June, it was announced Lysacek would compete at Skate America in Detroit in October, which, up until Tuesday, appeared that it would be his first competition since Vancouver.

In 2010, Lysacek became the first U.S. man to win Olympic figure skating gold since Brian Boitano in 1988.

He’s aiming to become the first U.S. figure skater since Todd Eldredge (1992, 1998, 2002) to compete in three Olympics. The two-man U.S. team will be chosen after the national championships in Boston in January.

Should Lysacek make it to Sochi, his primary competition will be Canadian three-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan, who took silver to Lysacek’s gold at the 2009 worlds.

There’s also Russian Evgeni Plushenko, 30, trying to make his fourth Olympic team. Plushenko took silver to Lysacek at the 2010 Olympics.

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Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

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Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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