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Lysacek Returns to Competitive Skating

(10 August 2012)  Evan Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic champion, announced this morning on NBC’s “TODAY” his plans to return to competitive figure skating after a two-season layoff. U.S. Figure Skating confirms that Lysacek has completed the necessary paperwork and is set to compete at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America, the opening event of the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.  The 2012 Skate America will take place Oct. 19-21, at the ShoWare Center in Seattle/Kent, Wash.

Lysacek, the 2009 World Champion and two-time U.S. National Champion, will compete for the first time since earning the 2010 Olympic title in Vancouver. He continues to train with longtime coach Frank Carroll in southern California.

“I am returning to competitive skating with the ultimate goal of representing the U.S. at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and successfully defending my Olympic title,” Lysacek said. “I'm excited that my first competition back will be at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America. Kicking off my return on home soil will make it even sweeter.", Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard.

This is the second time Lysacek has announced a return to competitive skating. since the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Lysacek did not skate competitively in the 2010-2011 season, but never announced his retirement after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  In June 2011 he received two Grand Prix assignments for the 2011-12 season.  In September 2011 he announced that his goal was to participate in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, but in October of that year U.S. Figure Skating announced that he would not take part in the Grand Prix series due to a financial disagreement, leaving the 2011 Skate America in Ontario, CA high and dry.  Lysacek confirmed in a twitter that "a suitable agreement could not be reached between US Figure Skating and myself by the event entry deadline" and in November confirmed he would not compete at the 2012 U.S. National Championships.

At the 2012 U.S. Championships Johnnie Weir announced his return to competitive skating.  Lysacek's announcement sets up a return engagement of the Lysacek-Weir rivalry that captivated so many skating enthusiasts in past years.

Since winning the Olympic title, Lysacek has garnered several honors, including being named the 2010 USOC Sportsman of the Year and receiving the 2010 Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the U.S. In April 2012, Lysacek was appointed a sports envoy by the U.S. Department of State, a position in which he engages overseas youth in positive dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity. In 2010, Lysacek was runner-up on the 10th season of “Dancing with the Stars” and served as a spokesman for U.S. Figure Skating’s film RISE. He has participated in domestic and international skating shows, made public celebrity appearances and participated in several philanthropic events since the Winter Games.

Lysacek continues to train in southern California with his long-time coach Frank Carroll, who now operates out of a facility in Cathedral City, California, near Palm Springs.  Since the Winter Games, Lysacek has retuned to southern California on a regular basis and local skaters who have seen him train tell us he has continued to work hard and has stayed in shape, which should ease the difficulty of returning to competition.  Allowing two season for his campaign to make the 2014 Olympic team shows foresight other skaters have not in attempting to return to Olympic competition after a period of inactivity.  Comparing the efforts of Weir and Lysacek in their efforts to reach SOchi will no doubt gives fans much to "discuss" in the coming season, and add some sizzle to the men's division leading up to the U.S. National Championships in Omaha in January 2012.

Copyright 2012 by George S. Rossano