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Evan Lysacek

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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Evan Lysacek: ‘My career is coming to an end’

Evan Lysacek
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Vancouver Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek gave a semi-revealing answer when asked about his competitive future last week.

“I think right now I’m in a transition in my life in trying to figure out what my next chapter will be,” Lysacek told Fox 14 TV in Sun Valley, Idaho. “As time moves on, I’m having to sort of close this first chapter, which has been all I’ve ever known. So, I think it’s me understanding that my career is coming to an end, on the ice at least.”

Lysacek hasn’t competed since winning gold in Vancouver in 2010, though he continues to do ice shows. Lysacek has plans to pursue a career in commercial real estate in New York, according to the TV report.

Lysacek’s agent commented on the report.

“Evan has yet to make an official decision as to the status of his skating career, although his quotes indicate which way he is leaning,” agent Shep Goldberg said in an email.

In April, Lysacek said he was pain free for the first time since August and had been doing triple jumps in training.

Lysacek, 29, missed the Sochi Olympics with a torn labrum in his left hip first suffered in August. He officially gave up his bid for Sochi on Dec. 10, saying a doctor told him he risked permanent damage if he continued to train at that point.

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Evan Lysacek pain free, doing triple jumps in training

Evan Lysacek
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WASHINGTON — 2010 Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek is pain free for the first time since August and has been doing jumps, including triples, in training the last four weeks.

“Whatever capacity I’m skating at, I don’t really know right now, but it’s nice to be back,” Lysacek said at the Best of U.S. Awards on Wednesday.

Lysacek, 28, missed the Sochi Olympics with a torn labrum in his left hip first suffered in August. He officially gave up his bid for Sochi on Dec. 10, saying a doctor told him he risked permanent damage if he continued to train at that point.

The injury is healed now, but Lysacek isn’t ready to say if or when he will return to competition after spending 14 weeks off the ice.

“Definitely a little premature for that,” he said. “But I’m back on the ice, looking at doing some shows and dipping my toes back in the water.”

Sochi would have been Lysacek’s third Winter Games, though he still flew to Sochi as a “TODAY” correspondent and to work with his sponsors.

“Very difficult,” Lysacek said. “I’d say the most difficult was seeing the men’s event and feeling like I should be jumping out there.”

Lysacek believes the judging system should be altered, to not weigh quadruple jumps so heavily, after watching the error-filled men’s free skate, won by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu.

“There was a lot of attempted difficulty,” Lysacek said. “I think, overall, things have to change. They must know that they have to change the system now. The dial was moved a bit too far after Vancouver with rewarding attempted quads. So I think they’ll really take a hard look at how they’re scoring it — again.”

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