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Gold Medal Winner Returns To Russia As Sports Envoy

Published on 12 February 2014

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by Morgan O’Brien


Washington, D.C.

“At the Olympics, the role of the athlete is multidimensional,” said Evan Lysacek, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in men’s figure skating. “Part of that is getting on the field of play, and the other part of it is being a representative of our country.”

In December, Lysacek announced that he would not defend his title at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics because of injuries. While Lysacek won’t competitively take the ice in Russia, he’s still finding ways to represent his country.

“I think that going over as an ambassador for our country, especially now, is important to represent the U.S. and what we stand for,” he said.

During the games, Lysacek is serving as a television correspondent for NBC. Afterward, he will travel on behalf of the State Department to St. Petersburg February 15–18 as a sports envoy, commemorating the 140th anniversary of the introduction of modern figure skating to Russia by an American.

No stranger to Russia, Lysacek is excited to return.

“My first world medal was in Moscow, and I’ve trained with Russian coaches,” Lysacek said. “They love sports. … Figure skating is a national treasure for them.”

A veteran sports envoy, Lysacek first served in this capacity during a 2012 program in Belarus and Sweden.

“Sports have an ability to unite … in a way I don’t know if anything else can,” he said. His 2012 program “gave me the opportunity to learn about our relationship with Sweden and Belarus and how they view us in each country. If their opinions were accurate, we supported those opinions, and if they were inaccurate, we could change those.”

The Olympic champion recognizes that his gold medal is a key asset in sharing his message. As part of his program, Lysacek will promote the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle.

A gold medal “is a very powerful object. I like to pass it around when I’m talking about the Olympics,” Lysacek said. “That small item — effectively, a piece of metal on a string — is a justification of an entire lifetime of sacrifice and work. When someone’s watching the Olympics, you’re not watching someone simply ski down a mountainside. You’re watching people’s entire lives unfold.”



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Posted 2014-02-12 09:09:00