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Lysacek announces return to competitive skating

Reigning Olympic champion will make season debut at 2012 Skate America

Evan Lysacek is setting out to add another Olympic gold medal to the one he already captured in Vancouver in 2010.
Evan Lysacek is setting out to add another Olympic gold medal to the one he already captured in Vancouver in 2010. (Getty Images)

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By Mickey Brown
(08/10/2012) - The question of "Will he or won't he?" has been answered.

He will.

Ending months of speculation about his future, reigning Olympic champion Evan Lysacek announced Friday morning on NBC's TODAY in London he will resume his competitive career after a two-year hiatus, and that he will begin his comeback attempt at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America, Oct. 19-21 in Kent, Wash.

"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 in a U.S. Figure Skating press release. "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."

Lysacek has not skated competitively since he earned the gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also has one world championship (2009) and two U.S. titles (2007, '08) to his credit.

Training with longtime coach Frank Carroll, Lysacek has elected to skate to music from the album Poeta by Spanish flamenco composer Vincent Amigo for his short program and to "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix," an aria from Camille Saint-Saëns's opera Samson and Delilah, for his free skate.

"He's stayed in extremely good shape physically. He's got lovely programs. Everything seems a go for him at this point," Carroll said. "I'm delighted he's going to try to skate again."

Carroll said he and Lysacek have been meeting periodically at rinks in Lake Arrowhead and Ontario, Calif., but that the two have yet to decide on a permanent training arrangement.

Lysacek has long hinted at a return to competition. Last September, while accepting his 2010 USOC SportsMan of the Year award in Colorado Springs, he said, "I have set my sights on Sochi. Nothing would make me more proud than to step on the Olympic ice one more time with the flag on my chest and USA on my back."

He was on the entry list for 2011 Skate America and 2011 Trophée Eric Bompard but withdrew from both because of a disagreement with his athlete contract.

In April of this year, Lysacek told the Chicago Sun Times, "I'm continuing to train hard and assume [my agent] Shep [Goldberg] will work everything out. I feel whole again and ready to compete."

Since leaving the competitive arena, Lysacek has garnered a host of honors, including the aforementioned USOC Sportsman of the Year award and the 2010 James E. Sullivan Award, given to the country's top amateur athlete.

Lysacek has also made forays into entertainment and politics. Following his Olympic win, he appeared on the 10th season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, finishing runner-up, and served as a spokesman for the U.S. Figure Skating-commissioned film RISE. This April, he was appointed a sports envoy by the U.S. Department of State, a position in which he engages overseas youth in dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity.