Top 3 Training Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek during his Olympic long program. (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Evan Lysacek during his Olympic long program. (Photo by Liz Chastney)

The 2010 Olympic men’s gold medalist has been a role model for a long time.  As the 2009 World champion, Evan was already used to performing on a large stage.  Evan’s performance with two clean programs at the 2010 Olympics gave him the distinction of being the first American man to win the Olympics as the reigning World champion since Scott Hamilton in 1984.  Evan’s success is obviously not a fluke, and figure skaters can learn important training tips from Evan’s example:

1.  Hard work pays off.

Everything I’ve heard about Evan mentions his intense work ethic and drive.  He dedicates much of his time to being in peak physical and mental condition.  On occasion,  his coach, Frank Carol, has told Evan to stop running his program so many times.  His hard work really paid off when he became the first American man to win an Olympic gold medal since Brian Boitano in 1988.  Evan is celebrating his success by purchasing an Aston Martin DB9!

2.  Focus on every aspect of your skating.

Evan has worked hard to develop his overall skating skills.  Not only is he a strong jumper, but Evan’s spins, jumps, footwork, and artistry help him be one of the best male skaters in the world.  Even though Evgeni Plushenko, the gold-medal favorite going into the Olympics, landed his quad in both the short and long programs, Evan topped his score because of a stronger overall long program.

Evan Lysacek after receiving his Olympic gold medal. (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Evan Lysacek after receiving his Olympic gold medal. (Photo by Liz Chastney)

3.  Nice guys do finish first.

Evan has a good reputation for being a nice person and shows humility even though he is now the reigning World and Olympic men’s champion.  He graciously handled the debate about why he won the Olympics without a quadruple jump in his program.  He defended the entire men’s field in his response to Plushenko’s heated opposition after the event:

Nobody likes to lose. . . . Plushenko is a great guy, a great skater. I’ve admired him for years. I thought he did an outstanding job . . . For him to discredit the field, though, that’s not right. It’s probably the strongest men’s field there’s ever been, and I was honored to be in the field.

I guess I was a little disappointed that someone who is my role model would take a hit at me in what is probably one of the most special moments of my life.

Evan’s qualities as Olympic champion are important qualitities to have, not just as a skater but as a person.  What do you find to be Evan’s most inspiring quality?

Top 2 Training Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalist, Kim Yu-Na

Kim Yu-Na during the playing of her country's national anthem

Kim Yu-Na during the playing of her country's national anthem (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Figure skaters can gain much from following the example of Olympic ladies champion, Kim Yu-Na.  Two training tips are especially important.

1.  Work on every aspect of your skating.

One of the primary elements that sets Kim Yu-Na apart from the rest of the ladies in figure skating is her overall skating ability.  Her flow, speed, and artistry are the strongest in the field and come from lots of focus and training on basic skating skills and body and arm movements.  On top of that, Kim Yu-Na has phenomenal jumps and spins which she showcases with her amazing performance skills.

2.  No matter how much pressure there is in a competition, be aggressive.

Kim Yu-Na had incredible pressure as the gold-medal favorite going into these Olympic Games.  She had to deal with the hopes of the whole nation of South Korea, expectations as the reigning World champion, and millions of dollars of endorsements.  Despite the enormous burden, she pulled though and skated two incredibly strong programs, two of the best in Olympic history.  Her speed and aggression into all of her elements helped her achieve this feat.

Brian Orser, Kim Yu-Na's coach during Kim Yu-Na's Olympic short program

Brian Orser, Kim Yu-Na's coach, during Kim Yu-Na's Olympic short program (Photo by Liz Chastney)

In an interview after the event, Brian Orser, Kim Yu-Na’s coach, told about pre-Olympic talks with Kim Yu-Na and her Olympic response:

It’s not any time to hold back. It’s not a time to be conservative or cautious. Be Olympic. . . . We’ve talked about that, coming here. You’ve got to be Olympic. You’ve got to be a competitor. Yes, you’re beautiful. Yes, the programs are beautiful. Beautiful lines. Great presentation and choreography.

But you’ve got to be Olympic and you’ve got to be fierce. And she was.

Watch Kim Yu-Na and other great figure skaters in the Champions Gala tonight!

Inspiration from the 2010 U.S. Ladies Champion, Rachael Flatt

I’ve known Rachael for many years.  She is one of the hardest workers I know and has dedicated many years to achieving this goal!  Rachael is also a nice person and a tremendous scholar.

Rachael entertains the audience in this video of her short program at the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Rachael is known for consistently skating well!  Her consistency and strong technical ability helped earned Rachael this national championship.

Be sure to watch Rachael at the Olympics!  She competes in the short program on Tuesday, February 23, and the long program on Thursday, February 25.

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Inspiration from the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Ice Dance Champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White

I’ve known this ice-dance team for many years, and we were members of Team USA together at a number of international competitions.  Both nice people, they definitely deserve this second title.  They have great footwork, intricate lifts, and amazing twizzles!

Watch this video of Meryl and Charlie’s awesome free dance from the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.  And don’t forget to watch Meryl and Charlie at the Olympics!  They compete in the compulsory dance on Friday, February 19, in the original dance on Sunday, February 21, and in the free dance on Monday, February 22.

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Inspiration from the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Men’s Champion, Jeremy Abbott

Wow, brings back the memories.  It’s great to see a nice guy have success!  I’ve known Jeremy since he lived in Aspen, Colorado.  Jeremy and I trained together at the World Arena in Colorado Springs for almost 10 years.  I remember when Jeremy did pairs for a period.  Jeremy, his pair partner, Brittany Vise, and my sister, Christina, and I all medaled in Open Juvenile Pairs at the 1999 Junior Nationals (then called Junior Olympics).

This is an inspiring video of Jeremy from his 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships long program in Spokane, Washington.  Jeremy overcomes the pressure of trying to defend his national title and make it to the Olympics. He keeps his focus throughout each element in his four-and-a-half minute long program.  Not only does Jeremy have great technical ability, but he’s also one of the most artistic male skaters in the world.

Watch Jeremy at the Olympics!  He competes in the short program on Tuesday, February 16, and the long program on Thursday, February 18.

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Inspiration from the 2010 U.S. Pairs Champions, Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett

I remember when I competed against Jeremy and his former partner, Shantel Jordan, at the 2004 North American Challenge Skate in Waterloo, Canada.  We both were on the podium at that event!

Watch Caydee and Jeremy’s speed, aggressiveness, and strength of technical elements in this video of their long program from the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.  Very impressive!

Be sure to watch Caydee and Jeremy at the Olympics!  They compete in the short program on Sunday, February 14, and the long program on Monday, February 15.