Chicago Native Son, Skating Diplomat




Evan Figure skater and 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Evan Lysacek , has left for Europe to be a sports ambassador in association with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs department.  He will visit Stockholm, Sweden, and Minsk, Belarus.


While in Sweden, Lysacek will hold ice skating clinics, organized in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Sports Without Borders.  He will also conduct clinics with the Skating Union of Belarus in Minsk and speak with students at the University of Physical Culture about the importance of sports in society. 


Earlier this month, while in Boston, Lysacek spoke about his upcoming trip before the Skating Club of Boston’s Ice Chips show. Lysacek was the headliner at Harvard’s Bright Arena during the 100th Anniversary of the famed skating club’s showcase.  Fittingly, the theme of this year’s production was ‘100 Years of Excellence’.  “I’ve been checking the weather in Sweden and Belarus every day,” he said.  One of the choreographers for the giant ice extravaganza was Tom Lescinski.  Lysacek used New Yorker and famed fashion designer Vera Wang for his costumes.


Lysacek said he had been working with the State Department to prepare his presentations and has been doing some traveling to acclimate himself to his new position. He recently took a trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where there is a growing awareness of the need for physical exercise for women and young people.  “I gave an exhibition there, and they didn’t advertise it, and 6,000 people came,” he added.


“As a figure skater, I have always been proud to represent the United States at competitions around the world,” Lysacek said.  “I am honored to be named a Sports Envoy and look forward to supporting the goals set by Secretary Clinton through sports diplomacy.”


Sports diplomacy builds on a program set up from the State Department with the vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of sports to bring people together for greater understanding.  Sports envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches from a range of disciplines that travel overseas to conduct clinics and team-building activities.  Youths are engaged in dialogue regarding the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity.  Michele Kwan was another figure skater who recently served as a public diplomacy ambassador for the State Department.


Lysacek will also attend a competition for wheelchair fencers and wheelchair dancers in Europe.