Lysacek hosts Olympics Closing Ceremonies party

Heiss, Jenkins, Kwiatkowski also join contest winners in Cleveland

Evan Lysacek talks to the contest winners at the party at the Hard Rock Cafe on Sunday.
Evan Lysacek talks to the contest winners at the party at the Hard Rock Cafe on Sunday. (Mark Stahl)


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By Todd Hinckley
(08/26/2008) - Thirty contest winners and their guests got an Olympic thrill of their own last weekend.

Thanks to KISS-FM and WKYC-TV3, they were joined by several of winter sports' best to watch the Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremonies at the Hard Rock Cafe in Cleveland.

Two-time U.S. champion and 2006 Olympian Evan Lysacek was the official host for the party, and he was joined by 1960 Olympic gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins, her husband and 1956 Olympic champion Hayes Jenkins and three-time U.S. medalist Tonia Kwiatkowski.

While watching the Closing Ceremonies from China, Lysacek said that he and the other special guests "spoke to the contest winners about our Olympic experiences and also how important the national championship is to each of us."

Everyone in attendance marveled at the success of the Beijing Olympics. They "looked amazing," Lysacek added. "[China] did a great job hosting the world's top athletes."

Lysacek, Heiss and Jenkins, having competed in five Olympics between them, fully appreciated the hard work it took athletes like swimmer Michael Phelps, who won eight golds in Beijing, and track star Usain Bolt, who set world records in all of his three gold medal-winning performances, to compete and succeed on such a grand stage.

Lysacek, though, said he was more in awe of the gold medalists in attendance in Cleveland. "Carol and Hayes are such legends in the skating community. I have looked up to them as role models and friends for many years. It was so nice to hear stories about their Olympic experiences."

The athletes all signed autographs for the contest winners, and Lysacek a guitar donated by the Hard Rock. The rest of the 2008 U.S. champions will sign it later, and the guitar will be auctioned at the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, with proceeds benefiting the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund.

A pair of National City Championships Final Package tickets to the upcoming U.S. championships were also given to two lucky winners on Sunday.

The National City Championships Final Package tickets for the 2009 U.S. Championships are on sale now. The package includes tickets to the final senior-level performances, which take place Saturday, Jan. 24 and Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. For additional information, visit