Born on June 4, 1985 in Chicago, Illinois, Evan Lysacek is a decorated figure skater, best known for winning the gold in the 2010 Winter Games. Aside from being the 2007 and 2008 US national champion, he’s also the 2009 World champion. He is currently the top ranked figure skater in the world. His great grandfather emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Chicago in 1929. Growing up, he moved to Los Angeles in 2003 after graduating from high school to train at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.
Lysacek started skating at the age of eight, when his grandmother bought him skates for Christmas. He originally wanted to play hockey, prompting his mother to enroll and him and sister Laura in figure-skating lessons to teach them skating. Soon, however, his interest remained on figure skating.
He won the US national title at the Juvenile level in 1996. A year later, he moved to Intermediate, where he won both his regional and sectional qualifiers, eventually landing fourth place at the Junior Olympics. In 1999, he won the US Novice title at the age of thirteen, the same year when he made his international junior debut, placing seventh.
In 2001, Lysacek made his senior national debut at the 2001 United States Figure Skating Championships, where he placed 12th. He was 15. After graduating from high school in 2003, he changed his coach and started working with Ken Congemi and Frank Carroll in El Segundo. He won the bronze at the 2004 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, his first senior-level international podium finish.
In 2006, Lysacek finished second overall at the United States Figure Skating Championship, which is also the de-factor Olympic qualifier. Alongside Johnny Weir and Matthew Savoie, he made it to the Olympic team. However, he finished tenth after the short program and went down with the stomach flu. He still opted to do the free skate, eventually landing fourth.
In 2009, he became the first American man since Todd Eldredge to win the World title at the World Figure Skating Championships. In the process, it also qualified him in the men’s event at the 2010 Winter Games. In Vancouver, he was second after the short program, but he won the gold overall after winning the free skate. Freshly minted from his win, he was announced as one of the contestants on the tenth season of Dancing with the Stars.