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Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek enjoys new line of work, misses figure skating

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Evan Lysacek showed up at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships with a smart phone in each hand.

“But I have three,” he said. “I answer them at any time, day or night.”

The calls aren’t about skating competitions anymore.

Lysacek, the last U.S. skater to earn individual World Championships and Olympic medals (gold at each in 2009 and 2010), prematurely ended his career in 2014 due to injuries that kept him from trying to make the Sochi Olympic team.

When he left the sport, he first took a real estate job in New York. For the last 10 months, he’s worked for friend and fashion designer Vera Wang‘s company.

“Skating and competing was really the first love of my life,” Lysacek, 30, said at the U.S. Championships in St. Paul on Saturday, after being inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. “When it ended for me, it was like a very long relationship that meant a lot to me ending. I was heartbroken by it, especially because it wasn’t really on my terms. It was my body that had failed. Throughout my career, I never really thought that’s how my career would end.

“It’s taken time for me to heal, but I felt like moving, at least for now, a little bit away from the sport and giving myself some space and breathing room would help me to gain clarity. What it did, really, was show me how fast the career of an athlete is.”

Lysacek’s new responsibilities include helping rebrand Wang’s company.

He said he’s been promoted twice and is now the head of licensed product development, while also taking on digital and social media and visual displays roles.

“It fills my need to work all the time,” he said. “I miss and I love skating. I want to get back involved in some way, but right now I’m enjoying doing new things every day.”

He prefers it to the route most elite skaters take at the conclusion of competitive careers.

“There’s a lot of skaters that they love show skating,” Lysacek said. “That was never me, unfortunately.”

He called being inducted into the Hall of Fame, sitting between 2006 Olympic teammates Sasha Cohen and Tanith White and Ben Agosto, a “punctuation for the end of a career and what has been my entire life.”

“It’s incredible to get that recognition, but I hope it’s not the end of my involvement in skating,” Lysacek said.

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Evan Lysacek, more Olympic medalists make U.S. Figure Skating HOF

Evan Lysacek
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and contemporaries Sasha Cohen, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto have made the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Lysacek won the men’s gold medal in 2010 in Vancouver. Cohen was a silver medalist at the Torino 2006 Winter Games, when Belbin and Agosto made a breakthrough in ice dance to also take silver.

The fourth member of the Class of 2016 is Gustave Lussi, who coached four U.S. Olympic champions.

Inductions will be held Jan. 22 at the U.S. Championships in St. Paul, Minn.

Lysacek became the first American men’s Olympic champion since Brian Boitano in 1988. In all, he won 11 major titles, including a World championship (2009) and two U.S. championships (2007, ’08). He will join his coach, Frank Carroll, and choreographer, Lori Nichol, in the Hall of Fame.

Cohen was the 2006 U.S. champion and is the last American woman to medal at an Olympics.

Belbin and Agosto are four-time World medalists (silver 2004, ’09; bronze 2006, ’07), and won five consecutive U.S. titles.

Lussi’s most noted student was Dick Button, the only U.S. figure skater to win two Olympic titles (1948, ’52). Lussi went on to coach U.S. Olympic champions Hayes Jenkins, David Jenkins and Dorothy Hamill at various stages of their careers.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Lysacek finds challenges away from skating in new life

Evan Lysacek finds challenges away from skating in new setting

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NEW YORK — Figure skating serves a different purpose for Evan Lysacek now, in a new city, with a new career.

The 2010 Olympic champion said he’s skated a few times on rinks around New York since moving here and starting a real estate job in September.

“It’s the only time I have space from other people in the city,” he said of being on the ice.

Lysacek, 29, hasn’t competed since winning gold in Vancouver. He missed a chance to defend his title at the Sochi Olympics due to a hip injury. There’s no competitive skating in his foreseeable future. There’s no mention of retirement, either.

“I think it’s a little ridiculous to make these big, grand announcements,” Lysacek said at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park in Manhattan on Tuesday, where he performed at the park’s rink.

The Chicagoland native who spent years training in Los Angeles is now in a line of work that he had thought about as far back as five years ago.

He’s still traveling on weekends for sponsor events and will continue to do Saturday and Sunday non-competitive shows with Stars on Ice next year.

Lysacek said it took him a year to fully heal from a torn labrum in his left hip, suffered from falling on a quadruple toe loop at Champs Camp, a U.S. preseason training camp, in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Aug. 21, 2013.

He went to Sochi anyway, as a spectator, and served as a special correspondent for TODAY. But Lysacek found unbearable pain watching the men’s figure skating competition in Russia.

“I left. I had to leave after [the men’s free skate],” said Lysacek, acting on a feeling that surfaced on the first night of the team competition eight nights earlier. “I was really upset by it, watching it. Watching the men’s competition and wanting so badly to be out there, it was just too soon for me to go and put myself through that.”

Lysacek went to St. Petersburg, Russia, and then to New York for sponsor appearances while the Olympics finished.

More recently, Lysacek returned to Chicago for Thanksgiving, with his father on his mind. Don Lysacek was in a city hospital with cancer in his brain, leukemia and melanoma.

“He’s up and down,” Lysacek said.

Lysacek’s agent since 2012, Shep Goldberg, died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 11.

“We connected right away,” Lysacek said of Goldberg. “We just saw things the same way. … I deal with a lot more people now than I ever did with skating, because he protected me. But now I deal with many people. To see someone with that level of loyalty, ethics, honesty, just is amazing. He really lived his life with honor. It’s rare.”

Lysacek said he watched three of the six figure skating Grand Prix series events this season. He’s been most impressed by Gracie Gold, his former training partner in California.

“She’s sort of coming into her own,” Lysacek said of Gold, who announced Thursday she has a stress fracture in her left foot. “It is, as you know, a difficult year, post-Olympics. There’s some letdown there. It’s a very busy offseason, trying to tour and deal with sponsor obligations and photo shoots and this huge amount of attention. Just like that, it goes away, and you have to go back to this old life you once knew, pre-Olympic fame.”

Lysacek said men’s figure skating is “a big mess,” from what he’s seen this season.

“I’ve never seen so much falling in my life,” Lysacek said. “But I didn’t see all the events.”

Lysacek also said he doesn’t like a new rule allowing skaters to perform to music with vocal lyrics.

“I think that it’s strange, but I’m an old dog,” Lysacek said. “I knew the sport only as it was. I don’t really feel that it needed to have all this change. There’s so much change with the judging and everything.”

Lysacek is also filling his time with a new athletic passion — running. He said he logs up to 10 miles at a time in near-daily treadmill work.

“I’m psycho,” he said, adding he might want to run a half marathon.

The five-year anniversary of Lysacek’s last competitive skate will pass in two months. If the Vancouver Olympics prove to be his farewell, it will make Lysacek a rarity. An athlete whose final competition was his greatest moment, albeit it was followed by a groin injury, sports hernia surgery and that torn labrum.

“How lucky was I that [injuries] didn’t happen before Vancouver or Torino [in 2006],” Lysacek said. “I don’t know that I would want that to define my entire life, that moment. But I am very proud of the small, tiny, little part that my moment in Vancouver played in the Olympic movement.”

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