Ice Network

Park City pieces: Lysacek out of Skate America

Torn labrum keeps Olympic champ off ice; Wagner, Abbott speak out
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Jason Brown (left) will sub in for Evan Lysacek at Skate America. -Getty Images

Evan Lysacek announced Monday he will not compete at Skate America and likened his road to Sochi to a "gripping reality show," saying a torn labrum has derailed his training plans for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.

Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic champion, has not competed since winning the gold medal in Vancouver but said that he has not ceded any plans for a comeback in Sochi. He said that he has been assured by U.S. Figure Skating that he can compete at an international event this season. He must post the minimum ISU technical element and program component scores in order to compete in the Winter Games, which begin in February.

Lysacek broke the news that he will not compete at Skate America, set for Oct. 17-20 in Detroit, while attending the U.S. Olympic Committee's media summit in Park City, Utah.

"It's extremely unfortunate, but it's not the end of the world," Lysacek said, adding, "It kills me to be missing it."

Lysacek said he suffered an abdominal tear following what he called a "violent fall" at the end of August. He added that a doctor ordered further imaging and discovered he had a torn labrum in his left hip.

"It is going to require more time off the ice," said Lysacek, who had been skating alongside of Denis Ten with coach Frank Carroll at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, Calif.

As far as where Lysacek can go to achieve a qualifying score, he has a few options. Among them are the Ice Challenge, set for Nov. 19-24 in Graz, Austria, and the NRW Trophy and Golden Spin of Zagreb, both of which are scheduled for the first week in December.

According to ISU rules, Lysacek must meet the ISU minimums by Jan. 27 if he is to compete in the Winter Games.

Max Aaron, the reigning U.S. champion who also is attending the media summit, will be competing at Skate America, as will 2012 U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon. U.S. Figure Skating announced Monday that Jason Brown, the silver medalist this past weekend at the Nebelhorn Trophy, will compete at Skate America in Lysacek's place.

Aaron, who won the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic earlier this month in Utah, said he is ramping up his programs, so that by the time the 2014 U.S. Figure Championships roll around, he will have two quads in his short program, and three quads and two triple Axels in his free skate. One of those quads in the free skate will come in the second half of his program, a strategy that would garner extra points should he land it.

The last U.S. man to land three quads in a program was Tim Goebel, who claimed the Olympic bronze medal in Salt Lake City in 2002.

WAGNER ON RUSSIAN LAW

A hot topic leading up to the 2014 Olympic Games is the law that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed in late June that bans the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors. With more than 100 athletes gathered this week in Park City, many of whom hope to compete in Sochi, reporters have asked about the athletes' feelings about the controversial law.

Although many here have opted not to discuss it, saying they stand behind the U.S. Olympic Committee and its stance on the law to speak for them, two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and 2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott decided to speak publicly about it.

"I'm so nervous to even talk about this," said Wagner, noting she has gay friends and family. "For me, [the law] is not something I personally agree with."

"I have such a firm belief that we all should have equal rights," Wagner added.

Wagner did say as an athlete "it is not my place" to go into another country and "tell them how to run their country." She does not have any set plans on any action she may or may not take should she make the Olympic team -- for example, dedicating a medal to the LGBT community, as middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds did at the track and field world championships in Moscow this summer -- but said discussing the issue is a start.

"I think the best way to show support is to speak about it," Wagner said. "We'll see what we can do."

Abbott, meanwhile, also spoke up, saying, "I do disagree with the legislation that has been passed. It goes against my beliefs."

GOLD ON COACHING MOVE

Gracie Gold recently announced plans to move from Chicago to Southern California to train with Frank Carroll, a change that sent shockwaves through the figure skating community, as it comes so soon before the Winter Games.

"So far, so good," Gold said when asked about the change. "I really enjoy having Frank as my coach."

It hasn't taken her long to notice how hard Carroll pushes his students, saying, "He is a stickler for doing programs."

ZAWADZKI READY TO REBOUND

After placing fourth at the U.S. International Classic earlier this month in Salt Lake City, Agnes Zawadzki was back in Utah with a new attitude. A two-time U.S. bronze medalist, she wants to secure one of the U.S.'s three spots in Sochi.

"I definitely did not accomplish what I wanted to do in Salt Lake City," Zawadzki said. "I need to up my training and be more strict mentally. On ice, I am doing more run-throughs and a lot more sets of jumps.

"I have the goods. I need to put it together. We're not playing around anymore."

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