Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek finds challenges away from skating in new setting

Leave a comment

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.”

Video: T.J. Oshie relives Olympic shootout with Jeremy Roenick

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

AP
Leave a comment

Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!