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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. // This two-time Olympic town gets its picture-postcard good looks from the looming Adirondack Mountains that rise in the distance.

Forty-six peaks stand at more than 3,800 feet, from Mount Marcy, at 5,344, the state's tallest, to

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3,820-foot Couchsachraga.

It's enough to give a figure skater nose bleeds. Or play tricks with body and mind.

People's Exhibit A: World champion and two-time U.S. champion Evan Lysacek, who stood sweaty and somewhat breathless Friday evening after his short program at Skate America. 

 

His programs, he explained, are still works in progress, with U.S. Nationals in January the competition where everything must come together to make the Olympic team.

A foot injury played havoc with his training schedule for eight weeks earlier this year and Lysacek said is still trying to regain his strength.  

And then there's the challenge of the difference in elevation between his training town of El Segundo, Calif., and Lake Placid, he continued.

Lysacek apparently failed diner placemat geography. While El Segundo is at 100 feet above sea level, Lake Placid is a mere 1,700 feet higher.

That's hardly Mexico City or Colorado Springs or Park City, Utah -- mile-high cities all, where thin air can cause training issues.

And if Lysacek is bothered by Lake Placid, just imagine how he'll struggle at Nationals in Spokane, elevation 1,879 feet. Oh wait, he won the U.S. title there in 2007.

Nevermind.

Cancer outreach organization 'a natural fit'

Lance Armstrong set the tone, an athlete taking on the "C" word when sports and cancer were seldom mentioned in the same breath.

Cancer has become hard to ignore in figure skating with stars such as Scott Hamilton, Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming all being treated for it.

U.S. Figure Skating and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have signed a one-year sponsorship deal that gives ASCO exposure through the naming rights to Skate America, now called Cancer.Net Skate America, and gives the figure skating organization an off-ice outreach program.

Both parties call the arrangement "a natural fit," but neither side would say how much money changed hands to make the fit snug.

Hamilton said that when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1997, there were few places for patients to get "rules of engagement" -- treatment information that wasn't written in complicated medical language.

Dr. Allen Lichter, ASCO chief executive officer, said the aim of the Cancer.net Web site is "to get the best information in the hands of patients, doctors and family members."

Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, agreed. "Knowledge is comfort. Knowledge is power," said Hamilton, who called Cancer.net a place that provides, "a message of survivorship."

Tara being Tara

It's been more than a decade since 15-year-old pixie Tara Lipinski took Olympic gold in Nagano, Japan, then disappeared into the world of ice tours and "acting." (Who could forget her turn in the TV show, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. We laughed. We cried.)

But she still thinks she deserves the star treatment, ranging from plane ticket upgrades and tickets for her mother and another traveling companion to a better hotel than the one used by mere figure skating mortals.

And while other people patiently waited on the line to receive their credentials, Lipinski marched to the front only to be put in her place by a seen-it-all volunteer, who appeared to be of 1980 Olympics vintage. 

When you've seen speedskater Eric Heiden win five Olympic gold medals at the oval in front of the high school just steps aways and the "Miracle on Ice" hockey team beat the Soviet juggernaut on the rink just around the corner, Lipinski is just another a washed-up ice princess.

 

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2009 Skate America 

* Skate America TV schedule (bottom of article)

* Sun coverage of Kimmie Meissner: Stories | Photos

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