Sport: Figure Skating
Birthdate: June 4, 1985
Birthplace: Naperville, IL
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Southern California resident Evan Lysacek is the reigning world champion and a two-time U.S. champion. A lanky 6’2″, Evan towers above his competition and he utilizes his height off the ice with with New York-based DNA Models.
Despite a rough start on the Grand Prix series (he did not qualify for the final and was downgraded on triple Axels) and a disappointing third-place at Nationals, Lysacek peaked at Worlds. In front of his adopted hometown crowd in Los Angeles, Lysacek ignited the Staples Center with two flawless performances, besting favorites Brian Joubert of France and Patrick Chan of Canada for his first world title.
While Lysacek did not attempt a quad due to an injury, he skated a clean, eight-triple free skate while the rest of the field faltered. The gold medal in Los Angeles was a major triumph for Lysacek, after consecutive third-place finishes in 2005 and 2006, he missed the world podium in 2007 (5th) and did not compete in 2008 due to injury. Lysacek is the first American man to claim a world title since 1996.
After graduating from Neuqua Valley High School in 2003, Lysacek relocated from Naperville, Illinois to the Los Angeles area to train under Frank Carroll and Ken Congemi. Lysacek says that Carroll has become like family and is one of his best friend and describes him as an “incredible technician and an awesome psychologist.” Also training alongside Evan are 2008 U.S. Champion Mirai Nagasu and two-time European Champion Carolina Kostner of Italy. Lysacek’s home rink, the Toyota Sports Center, is also home to the Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lysacek says that when he first started skating, he was not a natural. “I had no feel for the ice,” he said. But his parents were emphatic that their children participate in a variety of sports, so he kept skating because he wanted to play hockey. Though at times he wanted to give up the sport, by age 14 Lysacek had decided that figure skating would become his priority. “I wasn’t a natural, which you hear a lot of skaters say,” Lysacek says. “More important than talent or anything is heart. You’re either born with the heart of an athlete or not, because in sports you go through so much adversity. You have a bad day and you want to quit. But the most important thing is to be persistent.”
Though an injury prevented him from including the jump at this year’s Worlds, Lysacek has strong feelings on the quad and its place in figure skating. “The quad is the future of our sport…The “6.0″ was such a huge brand for our sport and we lost that brand when we lost that system. One brand we have now is the quad; it’s the only thing that’s recognizable to anyone, whether they know skating or not. We’re trying to take the sport to a whole new level.”
Coach Frank Carroll said in 2008: “There isn’t much of a choice, is there? If you want to skate with the big boys, you have to be doing the big boy tricks.”