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Stars align for Skate America showcase at ShoWare
Sidelined with an untimely injury, Evan Lysacek won't be competing in this weekend's Hilton HHonors Skate America at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
The reigning Olympic champion's return to the ice will have to wait, but Lysacek says the show will go on with a star-filled lineup.
"I am impressed with so many of today's skaters," Lysacek said.
"I am obviously very disappointed that I won't be competing. I've been excited and looking forward to it," he said. "Things were going very well in my preparation for it."
Competition begins Friday, continues Saturday and ends Sunday.
The showcase at the ShoWare is the opening event of the six-stop International Skating Union's Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
Medals will be awarded in men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating and ice dancing. Skaters also will earn points toward qualifying for the Grand Prix final.
Lysacek, who re-aggravated a groin injury in training, hopes to be back in competition soon, targeting the Jan. 20-27 U.S. Figure Skating Nationals in Omaha, Neb.
"The doctors assured me that it's not a serious setback, but to take every precaution," Lysacek said. "Hopefully this is not a long rest period away from the ice."
Despite Lysacek's absence, the event features heralded figure skating champions, including 2012 World silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, USA's longest-performing and most successful ice dancing team.
Other featured members of Team USA include U.S. champions Ashley Wagner (ladies) and Caydee Denney and John Coughlin (pairs).
Featured international skaters include: European silver medalists Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev of Russia (ice dancing); Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje of Canada (ice dancing); World silver medalists Alena Leonova (women's singles); Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia (pairs); 2010 Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang/Jian Tong of China (pairs); and World bronze medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan (men's singles).
In Lysacek's place, Armin Mahbanoozadeh will make his third consecutive Skate America appearance, having won bronze at the 2010 Skate America.
Mahbanoozadeh, the 2012 U.S. pewter (fourth-place) medalist, began his season with a silver-medal finish at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September.
"I have been training for this event because I knew I was the first alternate," Mahbanoozadeh said. "I'm excited, determined and ready to go."Mahbanoozadeh joins Team USA members Jeremy Abbott, the 2012 U.S. champion, and Douglas Razzano in Kent.
Tickets are available at www.2012skateamerica.com/tickets, the ShoWare ticket office, or by calling 253-856-6999.
NBC will broadcast live coverage of Skate America on Sunday.
Skaters will compete for $180,000 in prize money at the Kent event, including $18,000 for the winners in each division; $13,000 for second; $9,000 for third; $3,000 for fourth; and $2,000 for fifth.
For more information about the Grand Prix Series, including the complete list of events and skater selections, go to www.isu.org