Ice Network

Olympic champion Lysacek says goodbye for now

May still want to compete; will not go to worlds
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Gold medalist Evan Lysacek faces some tough competition in the "Best U.S. Male Olympic Athlete" category. -Getty Images

The weight of the literally and figuratively large Olympic gold medal gets lighter every day for figure skater Evan Lysacek.

Maybe that's because he's still floating on air.

It's been a whirlwind week for Lysacek, who captured the Olympic gold medal at these Winter Games just one week ago in Vancouver. Following his strong performance which edged Russian favorite Evgeny Plushenko for the title, Lysacek did endless rounds of media interviews, from Oprah to Larry King to The Today Show and even returned home to Los Angeles for a couple of days.

Besides getting a rest in his own bed, what else did Lysacek do during his brief respite home?

"I actually trained a bit for a couple of hours on Monday,'' Lysacek said. "I'm kind of worried that I'm going to have to do an encore [at the Olympic skating exhibition on Saturday] so I practiced my short program and did some run throughs.

"It was fun,'' he said. "I had a big smile on my face. It was a little weird because nobody was there. It was just me and a TV crew from NBC.''

Lysacek won't need to concern himself with technical marks for a while, however. The only performance he has left for this season is at the exhibition. In an interview with Wednesday night during a reception from one of his sponsors, Coca-Cola, Lysacek confirmed he will not travel to Torino to compete in the World Championships next month.

"I have decided that I will not be going to worlds,'' Lysacek said. "I still want to continue to compete, though.

"I'm not afraid to lose,'' he added as he looked at the gold medal draped around his neck. "And nothing would tarnish this anyway. Regardless of medals, I still have so much to thrive on in the sport. I'm not ready to say goodbye.''

Lysacek's imminent withdrawal from the world championships opens up a spot for American Ryan Bradley to compete in Torino. Bradley placed fourth at the U.S. Championships last month in Spokane, Wash.

There has been much ado about the quad at these Olympics. Lysacek opted against trying a quad at these Games and came away with the gold medal. Plushenko landed a quad-triple and has been outspoken in his opinion that he that he should have won.

Lysacek said he is not ruling out the possibility of trying quads again but ruled out doing the quad toe.

"I'm afraid of the toe,'' he said. "I don't want to break my foot. Maybe I could try the loop instead.''

For the moment, whether or not he ever does a quad will not matter in the history books. He's now a part of an elite club that includes Americans Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, David and Hayes Jenkins and Dick Button. In the week since his victory in Vancouver, Lysacek said he has received congratulatory phone calls and emails from all of those living legends, in addition to messages from each one of the U.S. women's Olympic gold medalists.

"Every single one,'' Lysacek said. "I've heard from Dorothy [Hamill], Sarah [Hughes], Tara [Lipinski], Carol Heiss, all of them, and it feels like I sort of had a piece of all of them with me when I skated.''

Following these Games, Lysacek plans to tour with Smucker's Stars on Ice. He also has an appearance booked with Ellen DeGeneres for her popular talk show.

Bea Perez, the senior vice president of integrated marketing for Coca-Cola, said she couldn't be any happier having Lysacek as one of the company's sponsored Olympic athletes.

"It's very special for us,'' Perez said moments before a chocolate cake frosted with Olympic rings and a gold medal was sliced in Lysacek's honor. "We've known Evan for five years and have been affiliated with him for the past year. We could see something special in Evan and our relationship wasn't contingent on him winning the gold medal.

"Winning the gold medal is the cherry on top of the sundae.''

Perez said she and Lysacek plan to discuss new ways he can utilize his sponsorship connection with Coca-Cola in the future.

"We have to sit down and think about what he's trying to accomplish, but we do a lot with Boys and Girls Clubs, recycling initiatives, environmental projects and we'll work with him to get more specific,'' Perez said. "We look forward to working with him for a long time.''