Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek says he's doing double and triple jumps in practice as he tries to come back from injury in time to defend his title in Sochi.
The American tore the labrum in his left hip in a fall on a quad in training Aug. 21, and he doesn't know if doctors will give him the go-ahead to again attempt quads — the prerequisite for a medal contender — soon enough.
Lysacek insists he remains optimistic, preferring to focus on the memory of all the past injuries that failed to derail him.
"I've come back from every single one of them," Lysacek told The Associated Press on Monday. "I have faith that this is no different from those."
The first American man to take that title in 22 years, Lysacek hasn't competed since winning gold in Vancouver in 2010. First there was a two-year break, which included a runner-up finish on "Dancing with the Stars." Lysacek was going to return to skating last season; instead, he was sidelined by a torn abdominal muscle.
Lysacek needs to post a minimum technical score in an international competition within the next couple of months to be eligible for the Olympics, which start Feb. 7 — 100 days from Tuesday. But he can accomplish that without his full repertoire of jumps.
Lysacek must receive at least a 25 in the short program and 45 in the free skate in the technical portion of the score — a very manageable hurdle for a world-class skater. His technical scores in Vancouver were 48.30 and 84.57, respectively. Fellow American Ross Miner struggled badly at Skate Canada last weekend and still earned a 32.15 and 60.54.
Lysacek was initially concerned he would be limited to one option in finding an event to post a qualifying score. He was relieved to learn there are three or four possibilities starting in mid-November, and the choice may depend partly on which offers the most favorable travel schedule. Potential competitions could include Warsaw on Nov. 14-17; Dortmund, Germany, on Dec. 3-8; and Zagreb on Dec. 5-8.
The U.S. Figure Skating Championships, where the Olympic team will be selected, are Jan. 9-12 in Boston.
Lysacek has tried to rush back from injuries before, only to make things worse, and promises he has learned his lesson. Sitting next to him Monday at an event for sponsor Procter & Gamble, his mother, Tanya, agreed that her son now understands that.
"Every time you learn a little more and get a little smarter, and you know what your boundaries are," she said.
They were promoting a "Thank You, Mom" video that relives Evan's golden moment in Vancouver. He's chasing that feeling again.
Dick Button is the only man since World War II to win back-to-back Olympic figure skating gold medals, and most champions didn't even attempt to defend their titles.
Lysacek missed more than a month of training, but that's not his major concern.
"I'm not worried that I'm not in shape," he said. "It's just really going to be dependent on the rate at which I heal, and unfortunately that's out of my control. I wish I could control that."
Copyright Associated Press