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Inspiration Report

Did you catch figure skater Evan Lysacek’s amazing performance last night?

The 24-year-old American figure skater won his first Olympic medal over defending title champion 27-year-old Russan figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko.

Lysacek was also the first winner to achive a gold medal without a quadruple jump–a jump with four spins or rotations in the air–in his long program since Alexei Urmanov in 1994.  He also set two other records: the first American to win a gold medal since Brian Boitano in 1988 and the first World Champion to win an Olympic medal since Scott Hamilton in 1984. 

Raised by a grandmother who dreamed about being in the Ice Capades, Lysacek received his first ice skates from her and began skating at 8-years-old.  By the time he was 10, Lysacek had qualified for the Junior Olympics.  He skated in a blue superhero costume of his own design with gold lightning bolts on it.  He won the Junior Olympics and, ever since, he has worn a necklace with a gold lightning bolt for luck–luck which hit him in Vancouver.

 

Four years ago at Turin, Lysacek had suffered from stomach flu and skated a disappointing short program.  Despite being ill and unable to practice, he didn’t withdraw from the long program; instead, he persevered and came in fourth place. 

This year, while Plushenko seemed to have the technical advantage, with the uncanny ability to land huge jumps, Lysacek had a combined technical and artistic advantage, skating his personal best. 

“I couldn’t have asked for much more than that…A personal best on the most important night of my life. I feel great about that performance.” (NYTimes.com)  

At 71, Frank Carroll, Lysacek’s coach, had instructed former Olympians including Michelle Kwan but none had achieved a gold medal until Thursday night.  The Olympic victory, then, was equally as sweet and meaningful for both men. 

 

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