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For Lysacek, No Pain Means No Gain

Fracture in Pelvis Will Not Stop Promising Skater

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 21, 2004; Page D03

U.S. figure skater Evan Lysacek realized his doctor, an orthopedic specialist, had given him a sensible, sound recommendation that likely would be best for his long-term health.

He simply had no intention of following it.

American skater Evan Lysacek on his hip injury: "My attitude is really just forget about it. Take my medicine and let adrenaline take over." (Peter Dejong - AP)

_____Skate America_____

Where: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh.

When: Today-Saturday.

TV: Sunday, 1 p.m., WJLA-7, WMAR-2 (exhibition); Monday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2 (taped); Oct. 31, 1 p.m. WJLA-7, WMAR-2 (taped).

Schedule: Today -- compulsory dance, pairs short program, men's short program; Friday -- original dance, ladies' short program, men's free skate. Saturday -- free dance, ladies' free skate, pairs free skate.

Withdraw from this figure skating season? Do nothing for six weeks? To heal a stress fracture in his pelvis?

"Sorry," Lysacek recalled thinking as he met with the physician in September, "that's not an option."

No way was Lysacek putting away his skates, not a mere 17 months before the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, not with the season-opening Smart Ones Skate America -- which begins with the men's short program tonight in Pittsburgh -- just weeks away.

It didn't matter that pain had been radiating through Lysacek's left hip every morning when he stepped out of bed since the junior world championships in March, when he aggravated a problem originally diagnosed as a strained groin.

This, Lysacek believed, was going to be his breakthrough season and he wasn't going to skip it for something as insignificant as a stress fracture. Last December, six months removed from his graduation from Neuqua Valley High in Naperville, Ill., he won the Junior Grand Prix Final in Malmo, Sweden, topping Russian Andrei Griazev, who trains under Tatiana Tarasova and Alexei Yagudin in Simsbury, Conn.

In the spring, Lysacek finished second to Griazev, who has been called the next Yagudin, at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, earning his third straight silver medal in the event.

This fall, Lysacek, 19, will compete full-time on the senior circuit, trying to establish himself as a U.S. Olympic team contender with the likes of Tim Goebel, Johnny Weir, Michael Weiss and Ryan Jahnke.

"If I want to be on the Olympic team in 2006, I need to say, 'I'm here,' . . . and not just fall off the face of the earth," Lysacek said. "I'll take care of [the hip] in the offseason.

"My attitude is really just forget about it. Take my medicine and let adrenaline take over."

The approach, Lysacek said, helped him perform capably at the preseason Campbell's Classic in St. Paul, Minn., on Oct. 1. Though he was fifth of sixth skaters, he topped Japan's Takeshi Honda and finished behind four skaters of distinction: Goebel, Joubert, Canada's Emanuel Sandhu and Weir.

"The performance for me was huge," Lysacek said. "I went out and just put on a good show."

At Skate America, Lysacek will compete against Weiss, Jahnke, Griazev, France's Brian Joubert, the silver medal winner at this year's world championships, and Germany's Stefan Lindemann, the 2004 world bronze medal winner. In short, the field is very strong.

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