article - Americans Johnny Weir VS Evan Lysacek

article - Americans Johnny Weir VS Evan Lysacek

Post by Vick444~No Sp.. » Sun, 16 Dec 2007 13:14:25

article "Weir vs. Lysacek, Round Two"
written by Lynn Rutherford and Liz Leamy, special to

While it's not the Red Sox vs. Yankees, or even Yagudin vs. Plushenko,
the rivalry between Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir is one of American
skating's biggest storylines heading into the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating
Championships in Saint Paul, Minn.
As the U.S. contingent squares off against the world's best at the
Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, the
competition-within-the-competition will be between the reigning U.S.
champion, Lysacek, and the man he dethroned last season, three-time
champ Weir (2004-2006).

"What we're looking at is one skater [Weir] forcing another [Lysacek]
to get better," four-time world champion Kurt Browning said at the
U.S. Championships last season.

Both take the ice at Turin's Palavela with mixed memories. At the '06
Olympics at the same venue, Weir placed second in the short program,
only to dash his medal hopes with a sub-par free skate.

For Lysacek, the tale was reversed: a disastrous short program
counteracted a superb free, leaving him just off the podium in fourth

Neither is the favorite in Turin. With world champion Brian Joubert
out of the mix, having skipped the Trophee Eric Bompard with a virus,
that honor belongs to Japanese champion Daisuke Takahashi, who sits
atop the Grand Prix rankings.

Weir and Lysacek will also contend with 16-year-old Patrick Chan of
Canada, who clinched the third-highest Grand Prix total; two-time
world champion Stphane Lambiel, the enigmatic Swiss who is struggling
with his triple Axel but qualified fifth; and Belgian Kevin van der
Perren, who earned the sixth position by defeating Joubert in the free
skate and grabbing a silver medal at Skate Canada. (Weir and Lysacek
qualified in the second and fourth positions, respectively.)

For the Americans, the difference could be the quadruple toe loop, a
jump the 22-year-old Lysacek has resolutely tried in both his short
and free programs this fall with mixed results.

"I'm trying to improve the quality and technical difficulty of my
skating," Lysacek said. "That's why the quad is in there. But what can
I tell you, quads are tough."

Weir, who says he regularly trains the jump, opted for clean skates,
earning high Grade of Execution (GOE) scores and winning two Grand
Prix events, his first since 2004.

"I got asked a million times about a quad," the 23-year-old Weir said
in a message to his fans. "I have decided that I don't want to answer
the question anymore... I will do it when I'm ready. I skated two
clean competitions without a quad, won two gold medals and am happy.
I'll take it."

The two have already met once this season, at the Cup of China in
November. They finished one-two, with Weir edging Lysacek by 2.42
points after winning the free skate by 4.17. Skating to Yoav Goren's
"Love is War," Weir earned a season-best 151.98 points. From a scoring
point of view, his biggest flaws were simple step sequences, with his
circular rating just a level one.

Entering the free with a slight edge after the short program, Lysacek
amassed 147.81 points skating to "Tosca." The program, while solid,
was less clean than Weir's. He fell on an opening quad, sustaining a
-3 GOE -- instead of earning the element's base value, nine points, he
came away with six, plus an additional one-point deduction.

That difference alone may have given Weir the win, since the skaters'
program component scores have tended to be in the same range. This
isn't a case of athlete vs. artiste.

"The quad is talked about a lot, and it's a very difficult element,
but it's not more or less important than the other elements of a
program," Lysacek said. "I'm proud of what I've accomplished with the
quad in both programs.

"I feel that by the 2010 Olympics, I will need the quad in both
programs to be on the medal stand. That's why I'm training the quad
along with the other elements, to make my programs stronger."

Arguably, Lysacek's devotion to the jump -- which he landed twice at
the 2007 U.S. Championship in Spokane -- cost him not one, but two
wins this season. Takahashi relegated Lysacek to silver at Skate
America after the American fell on the move in his short program.

But veteran coach Frank Carroll, who trains Lysacek in El Segundo,
Calif., stated the case in blunt terms.

"Look, if you don't want to try the tough stuff, then you should get
out of the business," he said. "Evan does the quad consistently in
practice. He can do beautiful triple Lutz-triple toe combinations, but
I've seen him fall on them, too. Ice is slippery, and if you're going
to make a mistake, you might as well make it on the toughest stuff."

For Weir, this fall was about redemption. After slipping to third at
the 2007 U.S. Championships (behind Lysacek and Ryan Bradley) and
eighth at the 2007 World Championships in Tokyo, he needed to
re-establish himself internationally.

To that end, he amicably parted ways with his coach of ten years,
Priscilla Hill, and moved to Wayne, N.J., to train under Galina
Zmievskaya, famous for coaching Viktor Petrenko and Oksana Baiul to
Olympic victories. Petrenko, who is Zmievskaya's son-in-law and an
experienced technical specialist, assists Weir with technique.

"It's the first time in a long time that I feel really comfortable on
the ice, and I think it's due to a new training regimen and just
harder work in general," Weir said. "I feel that I'm back.... I'm
happy I made the right decisions this season."

It's hard to argue with success. With his finest Grand Prix season
ever under his belt, Weir is heading into Turin -- and Saint Paul --
b*** with confidence and taking satisfaction against those who may
have written him off too early.


article - Americans Johnny Weir VS Evan Lysacek

Post by Pidg » Sun, 16 Dec 2007 15:08:19

Where do I get a Team Johnny shirt?   LOL.

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