Evan Lysacek

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

Leave a comment

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

Despite blade trouble, Nathan Chen leads men at Skate America

Leave a comment

Nathan Chen leads the men’s field at Skate America after tallying 104.12 points, a new personal best, on Friday night.

During the six-minute warm-up before the final group of skaters, Chen could be seen conferring with his coach, Rafael Arutunian, about his blade. He explained on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA broadcast that during the warm-up, Arutunian manipulated the blade to fix the edge. They plan on playing with it again so it’s better for Saturday’s free skate.

“There’s a lot of points that I could have gotten last year and I’m making sure I take care of them this year,” Chen said of his personal best, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “The score is still not that close to some of the top men currently, but that’s something that I know is attainable and it’s something I’m going to work toward.”

Arutunian’s other pupil in the men’s field, Adam Rippon, is in second place behind Chen with a personal best of his own – 89.04 points. Sergei Voronov of Russia sits in third place after the short with 87.51 points.

The third American in the field, Ross Miner, popped a triple Axel and didn’t receive any credit for the element. He tallied 71.59 points and sits in eighth place heading into the free.

The free skate will determine which skaters earn a berth to the Grand Prix Final in Japan in two weeks. Chen, despite being a favorite for the Skate America title, can finish anywhere among the top four for a berth to the Final. Voronov can also finish in the top four to make it to the Final. Rippon needs to finish anywhere on the podium.

Plus, with reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu and his training partner Javier Fernandez (a two-time world champion himself) out of the Grand Prix Final, the podium there is wide open. Patrick Chan, a three-time world champion and the Sochi silver medalist, won’t be at the Grand Prix Final either.

MORE: Skate America TV Schedule

Earlier Friday, in the pairs field, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford scored 75.37 to lead the field after the short program.

China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao followed for second with 73.67 points. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who represent Germany, earned 72.55 points for third place after the short program. All three teams have a chance to qualify for the exclusive Grand Prix Final should the podium stand is after Saturday’s free skate. Even with a shakeup among the top three, it is likely that they will all qualify.

The top American team was married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who scored 64.27 and are fourth after the short. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier tallied 63.04 (sixth) and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay are eighth with 57.18 points.

MORE: Bruno Massot earns German citizenship

Massot gets German citizenship, path cleared for Pyeongchang

AP
1 Comment

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Bruno Massot learned Thursday he has passed his German citizenship test, clearing the way for him and partner Aliona Savchenko to compete at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Massot was born in Caen, France, and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Games on the French team, but he was held out of the Olympics because partner Daria Popova did not gain French citizenship in time.

He has since partnered with Savchenko, a Sochi participant, and been working to become a German citizen. This was his third time taking the German citizenship test, and the final time he would be able to qualify for citizenship in time for the Olympics.

“It’s really different,” Massot told The Associated Press, “because I don’t have this now anymore in my head, this question like, `I will be blocked again, or not?”‘

Massot’s naturalization ceremony will take place next Wednesday. Massot and Savchenko are in Lake Placid competing at Skate America this week.

MORE: Skate America preview, TV schedule