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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U.S. Olympic 3×3 basketball qualifying teams named with former NBA player, WNBA stars

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Former NBA player Robbie Hummel and WNBA stars lead U.S. Olympic qualifying teams in the new Olympic event of 3×3 basketball.

The four-man and four-woman teams will compete in a global qualifier in India in March, each favored to grab one of three available Olympic berths per gender for the U.S.

Hummel, who unretired to become world champion in 3×3, is joined on the U.S. Olympic men’s qualifying team by Team Princeton teammates Canyon Barry and Kareem Maddox, plus Dominique Jones, who has played with Team Harlem. Team Princeton is guided by an investment firm CEO who once beat Michael Jordan one-on-one.

Last year, Hummel, Maddox and Barry (one of Rick Barry‘s sons) were part of a team that won the world title.

The U.S. women’s 3×3 qualifying roster is made up of WNBA stars Napheesa Collier, Stefanie DolsonAllisha Gray and Kelsey Plum. The U.S.’ top-ranked 3×3 player, as of last month, is Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu, who can’t play internationally this spring as she is in the thick of the NCAA season.

Olympic teams will not necessarily be made up of players from the qualifying tournament.

If the U.S. qualifies for Tokyo, it will then choose its roster(s) in a similar fashion to its traditional basketball teams — via selection committee. It’s unlikely active NBA players will be eligible.

Like with the qualifying tournament, two of the four Olympic players must be ranked in the top 10 among Americans in FIBA 3×3 rankings (as of a May 22 cutoff).

In 3×3, games last 10 minutes, or until one team reaches 21 points. Games are played on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, and offense immediately turns to defense after a team scores.

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First U.S. sailors qualify for Olympics; gold medalist misses on tiebreak

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The first five members of the U.S. Olympic sailing team were finalized this past weekend. The last American sailor to win an Olympic title missed on a tiebreaker.

Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (49er FX), Anna Weis and Riley Gibbs (Nacra 17) and Charlie Buckingham (Laser) qualified after world championships competition concluded in Australia. The U.S. Olympic roster across all sports is now at 43 qualified athletes.

The closest race for a U.S. Olympic spot came in 49er FX. Roble and Shea edged Paris Henken and 2008 Olympic champion Anna Tobias on a tiebreak. Roble and Shea, both first-time Olympic qualifiers, won Saturday’s medal race and earned an overall bronze medal.

That put the two U.S. duos in a tie in Olympic qualifying — combining placements from the 2019 and 2020 Championships, according to TeamUSA.org. The tiebreak went to Roble and Shea for having the better finish at this year’s worlds.

Tobias, a 37-year-old who won the individual 2008 Olympic Laser Radial as Anna Tunnicliffe, came out of retirement in a bid for a third Olympics. She left competitive sailing in 2014, took up CrossFit competitions and returned to crew for Henken more than two years ago.

“We are very sad and upset,” was posted on Tobias’ Instagram, “but we wish them [Roble and Shea] the best of luck.”

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