TODAY | December 10, 2013
>> and now to our countdown to sochi . the competition begins in only 58 days and evan ilysacek, the reigning men's champion is here to share news. but before we get that, here is his rise to stardom.
>> he did everything he came to do.
>> reporter: it was a life long dream realized.
>> evan lysacek with the skate of his life.
>> reporter: grabbing gold in vancouver beating out a favored russian opponent. evan lysacek always a friend of the "today" show.
>> embracing the character.
>> i am.
>> reporter: is known as much for his grace on the ice as his glamour. after the games he competed on dancing with the stars . he hit red carpets and stayed off the ice. but then, two years later, he launched a come back.
>> i hope to follow in the footsteps of our good friend who won back to back titles in '48 and '52 and he was the last to do it. hoping to carry on that tradition. this is my goal for the next year.
>> reporter: it hasn't been the easiest path for lysacek. now 28 he suffered injuries and has not competed once since the vancouver games.
>> good morning, welcome back. it's good to have you here.
>> thanks, matt.
>> it hasn't been the easiest come back. that may be an understatement. you had a bunch of injuries. what's the latest?
>> well, in august, i had an accident on the ice and i suffered a labral tear in my left hip. from the beginning i was clear with my doctors as to what the goals were. to be 100% healthy and prepared for sochi and before that to compete in december in a qualification event.
>> you talk about this tear, it's a very painful injury for someone who does what you do. the stress and strain on a skaters hips is enormous.
>> exactly. it affects that region of the body very much. but my doctors took an aggressive course of action with treatment and physical therapy and we all remain very optimistic. i had no doubt i would overcome this just like i had the other injuries i've had throughout my career and i have overcome every single one of them. i was back on the ice in october doing light training but as the training intensified so did the pain and it's become, in recent weeks, unmanageable.
>> you had to make a decision, obviously. first of all, you can manage the pain but it's not going to be the way you skate your best. there was a competition this month in ukraine that you technically had to take part in so the news unfortunately is that you won't be in sochi .
>> it's very difficult for me to say that, matt. but my road to sochi ends here. a lot of what played into that decision was that my doctor warned me that if i continued to train with 100% certainly the injury would get worse. the pain would get worse every single day and i could be doing permanent and severe damage.
>> as you're sitting here you're calm about this but in speaking with your representatives i know this has been an incredibly emotional decision for you. how are you feeling emotionally?
>> this has been my whole life. so it's difficult. it's a difficult decision for sure.
>> can i ask you, does this mean you're retiring from the sport?
>> well, right now my focus has to shift from training and preparing to sochi to getting healthy and trying to heal this injury once and for all. and the last several weeks have been so painful for me that i don't want those to be my last moments on the ice after such a great career. i love to represent my country and i'm determined to be healthy and skate again and really be the one that decides when it's over.
>> you talked that in the past you have skated through pain but i think it's important to remind our viewers what is required of a figure skater at your level of the competition. if you go to the olympics what are the jumps you have to pull off to even be considered?
>> the jumps and the physicality of this sport are incredible and i think people don't know that. they think it looks like ballet but really it is among the most difficult and physical sports in the world . the torque is immense and sometimes up to 100 times your body weight in torque and the training and the discipline that it takes are incredible. and people, i think, expect that to be an olympic gold medallist you have to work hard and be dedicated but the level of sacrifice and discipline to live that lifestyle are immense. i can't even put it into words but it is what i love and i have had some of the best moments of my life representing the united states . it's what gives me such pride.
>> you're the most decorated or were the most decorated hopeful going into sochi for the american team. how was it to break the news to your teammates?
>> my entire team has been extremely supportive. my family and friends have been supportive. my sponsors have been supportive. each one of them reached out to me individually and stated that they are behind me. so undoubtedly i'm beginning now just to come out of shock and start to process this but i think i'll lean on that team a considerable amount.
>> i know you're disappointed but i want to say you have given us so many amazing moments evan and you should be only proud of your record and we congratulate you for that.
>> thank you.
>> all our best.
>> and a reminder nbc's coverage of the olympic games in sochi will begin on february