Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek ‘is in pain,’ coach Frank Carroll says

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Evan Lysacek is six months out from the Sochi Olympics and three weeks from his first competition since winning the 2010 Olympics, but he’s far from 100 percent.

“We’re at the trial and error stage,” Lysacek’s coach, Frank Carroll, told USA Today. “He’s recovering from his injuries and his surgeries which were a lot more extensive than a lot of people know. It’s getting better and better but he is in pain and he has to be very careful with how much he does. I don’t know in figure skating if someone has tried to come back from that level of injury.”

A groin injury forced Lysacek out of Skate America last October. Then, he underwent sports hernia surgery in November. Lysacek is scheduled to compete at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City from Sept. 12-14.

“I think he will contend,” Carroll told USA Today. “He’ll go to Salt Lake and skate well, skate decently but that’s it. Today we don’t expect the world. In a couple of months we expect him to be much, much better and 100 percent by the Olympics.”

Carroll and Lysacek made comments at Champs Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., where U.S. figure skaters across all disciplines congregate before the season to perform their programs in front of judges. Consider it like baseball’s simulated games.

“I’m gaining more confidence as I go,” Lysacek told USA Today. “I see myself in Sochi — yes. I hope that I can make that a reality. I have a lot of steps up the ladder to get there.”

Lysacek, 28, is attempting to make his third Olympic team and to become the first man to repeat as Olympic figure skating champion since American Dick Button in 1948 and 1952.

It will not be easy, compounded by the fact that the U.S. has two men’s spots at the 2014 Olympics as opposed to the three it had in 2002, 2006 and 2010. The U.S. earned two because of its showing at worlds, where Max Aaron placed seventh and Ross Miner 14th.

Lysacek, Aaron, Miner and three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott figure to fight for the two Sochi spots at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships in Boston in January.

Internationally, the top contenders for Sochi medals will be three-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan of Canada, world silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, world bronze medalist Javier Fernandez of Spain, Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi and Yuzuru Hanyu and, potentially, Russian Evgeni Plushenko. Plushenko, the 2006 Olympic champion, is attempting one more comeback at age 30.

U.S. figure skater’s free skate tribute to Boston

Watch Simone Biles, Nancy Kerrigan cha-cha on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Simone Biles made a rare misstep, but her performance on “Dancing with the Stars” was still plenty strong enough to survive the first elimination Monday.

The four-time Olympic champion gymnast got a step ahead of partner Sasha Farber on their cha-cha on the season’s second episode, leading to a lower score this week (29 out of 40) than the first week (32 out of 40).

“What you did was nice, just not together,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said.

“I don’t know if I necessarily felt it, but what I saw was beautiful,” added another judge, Julianne Hough.

Biles and Farber’s score tied for the fourth-highest of the 12 couples, after posting the highest score the previous Monday. Biles is trying to join Shawn Johnson and Laurie Hernandez as gymnasts to win the Mirrorball Trophy.

Meanwhile, two-time Olympic medalist figure skater Nancy Kerrigan scored 28 points with partner Artem Chigvintsev for a second straight week. They also advanced.

Judge Len Goodman said Kerrigan “lost a bit of control here and there.”

“I think the thing that got to you was your nerves,” Inaba said. “In your first half of your routine you were a little bit off your step. … As the dance progressed, I saw you find yourself.”

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U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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