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.