COLORADO SPRINGS – Evan Lysacek said Friday his training is going well. He is tweaking programs to figure out what mathematical permutations certain elements will give him, depending on where he places them in the program.
While he still is not ready to commit to competing at Skate America next month, Lysacek has decided the 2014 Olympics is his ultimate goal.
In his first interview since letting it be known in mid-summer – with no formal announcement -- he had returned to training with the possibility of competing this season, Lysacek said that his goal in returning was the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He indicated he would like to compete at the 2012 nationals, even if it turns out he doesn’t feel ready for Skate America.
“The progress has been really encouraging,” he said. “I’m really happy with where I am.
“The ultimate goal is Sochi. I’m not foolish to think it’s light years away. It’s going to be here before we know it. In skating, because it’s one of the higher profile sports, the buildup begins about a year before, and that’s kind of when I’m hoping to be at peak performance level.’’
But the reigning Olympic men’s figure skating champion still would not say whether he will compete at Skate America next month, even if U.S. Figure Skating has been using his face for weeks on its web site to promote ticket sales for that event and January’s U.S. Championships.
“That’s bold,” Lysacek said of the promotion. “The reason I haven’t made any grand statements about coming back and being there is because I don’t want to be the one responsible for anyone’s disappointment. All I have said, even to them (the federation), is that I am training, and I would like to be in shape for it.
“That’s the only statement I can make at this point. They can take it and run with it in whatever direction they want to run.
“I’d love to do nationals. I have spent the past four months training, so I would hope it’s not for nothing.”
Lysacek, who has not competed since the 2010 Olympics, said he had gained weight and lost muscle mass over the ensuing year. Since returning to serious training, he has lost the weight but not regained the muscle mass.
Lysacek, who turned 26 in June, would not reveal the music he has chosen for programs put together by Lori Nichol, his long-time choreographer.
Sochi would be his third Olympics. He finished fourth in 2006, when he was one missed jump away from a medal.
If he competes this season, Lysacek intends to have a quadruple jump in at least his free skate. His Russian rival, 2006 Olympic champion Evgeny Plushenko, belittled Lysacek’s gold medal performance at the 2010 Olympics because it did not include a quad. Lysacek beat Plushenko with clean programs and an refined sense of how to use the new scoring system to full advantage.
Lysacek, who grew up in Naperville and went to Neuqua Valley High School, came to Colorado Springs to accept the 2010 U.S. Olympic Committee sportsman of the year award at a dinner Friday night.
In accepting the award at the USOC's annual assembly, Lysacek said, "I have set my sights on Sochi."
The key part of his decision to prepare for competing again was getting over a fear of losing.
“That’s a fear a lot of skaters have when they come back,” he said. “It’s such a strange sport in a way where people think you are only as good as your last competition. You don’t quit football because you’ve won the Super Bowl or tennis because you have won Roland-Garros or golf because you’ve won the U.S. Open.
“In skating, a lot of the time, that big prize means that it’s over.”