Lysacek Wins Double JGP Gold, Heads to JGP Final (11/03)

By Brenna Walsh
Evan Lysacek
Photo by Paul Harvath

(11/12/03) — Evan Lysacek has spent the last month traveling the world for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Series, and all the work and plane rides have paid off. Lysacek recently took the gold both at Okaya City, Japan, and Zagreb, Croatia, and is now qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final in December.

“My goal for this season was to win both Junior Grand Prix events and to qualify for the final in December,” Lysacek said.

Lysacek basically kept the same short program as last year, skating to "Espana Cani," but has made improvements. One of his new coaches, Frank Carroll, helped him work on portraying the character of the music and improving expression and dynamics. Lysacek has also made technical advancements by adding a triple Axel-triple toe combination — a step up from last year's triple Lutz-triple toe combination.

However, Lysacek's free skate is new this year. It is set to the "Second Piano Concerto" by Rachmaninov.

“The choreography reflects the power of the music,” Lysacek said. “It has gotten great responses so far.”

He has also tried to improve the technical difficulty and incorporate some unusual steps and moves.

From Oct. 16-19, Lysacek was competing in Japan. He felt that everything in the country was in perfect order and was maintained very well. He was excited to get out and perform his new free skate for the first time and to perform the triple Axel in the short program.

“It was my first event since the World Junior Championships in March,” Lysacek said. “I was very pleased with my performance in both programs. In the short I received up to 5.4 for technical and up to 5.6 for presentation. The free skate was up to 5.6 for technical and for presentation.”

The Croatia event was next from Oct. 23-25. Lysacek flew directly from Japan to Croatia, which was trying because he was ill throughout the trip, but he did feel that the Croatia Skating Federation did a great job with the event.

"Nothing gives me more thrill than taking the ice at an international event and hearing my name announced as a representative of the United States."
— Evan Lysacek

“It was a grueling trip, and the day of the free skate I came down with the stomach flu,” Lysacek said. “I decided that I could not compete and was prepared to withdraw. However, the medical staff, including our team doctor, was able to improve my condition enough for me to skate my four-minute free skate, and I ended up doing well enough to win.”

Lysacek confided that skating while ill was one of the most difficult things that he has had to do. “It took everything in me to get out there and complete my free skate. I owe so much to my coach Ken Congemi, team leader Doug Williams and judge/cheerleader Lorrie Parker. They were motivators.”

Lysacek recently made a coaching move in June to Carroll and Congemi. Because of the move, it was very fulfilling for Lysacek to win the events in Japan and Croatia. “It made me confident that my work throughout the summer and early fall had paid off,” he said.

Lysacek is also very excited for the rest of the season, especially the State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. But before the championships arrive, Lysacek must prepare for the Junior Grand Prix Final in December.

“I have so much work to do. I want to make my transitions smoother, elevate the excitement of both programs, and improve the step sequences,” he said.

Whether or not Lysacek wins the Junior Grand Prix Final, he is prepared to take the next step up to the senior Grand Prix level. He feels that he has gained so much experience at the junior level and is excited to compete more on the senior level internationally. He got a taste of that last season when he competed in the Four Continents Championships.

Despite any future plans in skating, Lysacek remains proud to be a member of the Team USA. “Nothing gives me more thrill than taking the ice at an international event and hearing my name announced as a representative of the United States,” Lysacek said. “Hearing the national anthem at these two events was so fulfilling for me.”

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