Evan Lysacek, who took gold in figure skating at the 2010 Olympics, won't be able to defend his title in Sochi after intense rehab yielded little progress after tearing his labrum late this past summer.
Lysacek, the first American man to win the Olympic title since 1988, made the formal announcement on The Today Show on Tuesday morning and he spoke to the Associated Press following the decision.
“This has been my entire life, training and representing my country,” the 28-year-old said, while battling his emotions. “So it's just kind of difficult. As much as I knew it could go either way, I never accepted it wouldn't. I always thought it would work out. I was crushed. I am crushed.”
Doctors recently told Lysacek that his torn labrum wouldn't improve if he continued training on it, forcing his decision. He initially suffered the injury on Aug. 21 after a “violent” fall but thought it was just a torn abdominal muscle, an injury he'd previously recovered from.
The reigning champion said he would now dedicate all his time and energy to recovering and hopefully competing again in the future.
“In the past couple weeks, the pain has become unmanageable,” he said to the AP. “I'm really not a weak guy. I have a pretty high pain threshold. This has proved to be too much, even for me, the level of pain.”
“I'm focused on recovery right now. But I really don't want this to be how my career ends. The last week has been so painful. But I don't want this to be my last moments on the ice.”