Lysacek Does it Againby Troy Schwindt
|Evan Lysacek wins Four Continents gold.|
Photo by Matt Stockman, Getty Images
(2/9/07) - U.S. champion Evan Lysacek admitted he didn't have his best stuff, but it was good enough to rally from nearly 11 points down to win his second Four Continents Championships title Friday night at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lysacek, 21, recorded a personal-best international free skate of 159.23 points and total score of 226.27, edging short program leader Jeffrey Buttle of Canada and Colorado Springs' own Jeremy Abbott
The California resident won his first Four Continents Championships crown in 2005 in Gangneung, Korea.
Executing his opening quad toe-triple toe once again provided Lysacek a big boost during his technically challenging “Carmen” program.
“I've been practicing the quad really well and it wasn't one of my better ones, but when the time comes I like to try and fight for every point,” said Lysacek, who bested the 21-man field. “Neither (triple) Axels were good. The second one was really tough and I had to fight for it. That's what we do as athletes.”
Three weeks ago at the U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash., Lysacek nailed that same opening element en route to a personal best U.S. mark. The quad at Four Continents, he said, wasn't nearly as crisp.
“The one at nationals had a lot of speed and a lot of flow out of the landing, and I think this one was a little scratchy,” said Lysacek, who will represent the United States at the World Championships in Japan in March. “It was really deep on that edge, which kind of stops my momentum from having a real nice landing out of it. So, technically it wasn't quite as good. As far as me being happy with it, I think it was a lot more difficult tonight so I am really satisfied with pulling it off.”
The altitude and a demanding three weeks of competitions and practice showed in Lysacek's face as he struggled to maintain the same energy that propelled him to the U.S. title.
He did receive a boost when his coach Frank Carroll arrived just before the free skate from California, where he had been part of a court trial.
“Having my coach here made all the difference,” Lysacek said. “He got here at 6 tonight. He knows how to get inside my head and make it work.”
Carroll said he simply tried to get Lysacek's perspective right.
“He mentions this thing about Tiger Woods, how he saw him in a zone, just strictly going shot after shot after shot,” Carroll said. “And I think that's a great thing that he mentioned because in figure skating you have to go from one element to another and execute it right. He's getting tougher and tougher.”
Lysacek said he came to Colorado Springs with the goal of working on his quad, that winning was secondary. He said that he focused too much on the quad, which hurt some of the other elements of his program.
“I think the execution of my program really dipped in a couple of spots, so I have some work to do,” said the two-time World bronze medalist.
Buttle, 25, entered the free skate to the “Ararat” soundtrack by Mychael Danna more than three points ahead of Abbott and 10.68 points ahead of fourth-place Lysacek, but he, too, struggled with his planned triple Axels.
He did a double Axel on his first attempt and a single Axel on his second one.
Buttle, the three-time Canadian champion, missed most of the past year with a stress fracture in his back but came back to win his third national title before coming to Colorado Springs.
“Today, it wasn't really a technique issue on the Axel,” said Buttle, who scored 223.96 points. “In the short program I was just a little bit outside the circle so that's what caused me to step out, but today there was really nothing wrong with it. I just wasn't aggressive with the snap going in.”
Buttle, the Olympic bronze medalist, won Four Continents Championships titles in 2002 and 2004.
Abbott, 21, was the first skater out in the final group. With the locals cheering loudly, he turned in a solid effort that momentarily grabbed the lead with 203.22 points.
He received two negative grades of execution on his triple Axel-triple toe and single Lutz-double toe-double loop.
“I'm a little disappointed I didn't skate better, but overall I'm pleased with it,” Abbott said. “It was a pretty solid showing.”
It was Abbott's first ISU championships. Three weeks ago at the U.S. Championships, he placed fourth. Ryan Bradley of Colorado Springs, third after the short program, placed fourth.