Local News

Olympic champion figure skater visits nationals in Greensboro

Posted January 29, 2011 5:09 p.m. EST
Updated January 29, 2011 11:11 p.m. EST

— Since winning the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, figure skater Evan Lysacek's life has been a whirlwind.

His career took some unexpected turns in the last year. He was everywhere from "Dancing with the Stars" to the Academy Awards, but on Saturday, he was back at a familiar place – the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro.

He takes the ice Sunday, as part of an all-star performance, but these days, he said, he spends more time off the ice than on it.

"Being on the ice at a skating competition is really fun," Lysacek said. "This is like a vacation to me away from the business world."

Lysacek is a spokesman for the film "Rise," which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1961 plane crash that killed the U.S. figure skating team on their way to the World Championships in Prague. The film premieres Feb. 17.

"It's a momentous occasion for our sport, so to have the U.S. Championship right before that is to celebrate the current champions and pay homage and remember those promising athletes that were lost," he said.

While in Greensboro, Lysacek will film a special routine for the movie, but he said his future in figure skating remains uncertain.

"I do miss it and it's strange to watch the rest of the season unfold without me being there," he said. "But I have to congratulate a crop of skaters that's doing exceptionally well this year."

He offered advice to skaters who want to compete at nationals.

"It's all about hard work and it goes for every walk of life – figuring out how to separate yourself from the crowd, what makes you special, what makes you different, what makes you unique," he said. "That took me quite a few years to find. But thank God I found it. That gave me the confidence to push myself and be comfortable in my own skin."

Lysacek is a two-time national champion.

The 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships are being held at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Jan. 22-30.