Evan Lysacek is always smiling and he should because he’s competing in his second Olympics. Every world champion has taken a different path, and before Evan put on skates, he was just another kid at Creative Nursery School in Naperville. Director Bev Eigenberg has a hallway of memories, newspaper articles and his magical moments.
“To think that he was a little boy down here, and he’s grown up and the dedication that he’s had amazes me,” Eigenberg said.
When it came to skating one of the rinks he developed his skills at was Seven Bridges in nearby Woodridge. Growing up Evan wanted to play hockey, but he quickly ditched the equipment and tried figure skating…practicing up to 7 to 10 hours a day. Competitive figure skating coaches like Joanne Zalewski could see his potential as a teenager.
“He had great natural ability. Even as a young man he had a lot of charisma and he had a great work ethic. He worked very, very hard,” Zalewski said.
He finished 2nd at the World Junior Championships in 2003, while staying dedicated to his education. That’s the same year he graduated from Neuqua Valley High School.
“Evan had ambitions for himself but he didn’t let that take over everything. He wanted to be a student. I was providing assignments, they were being delivered back to me. We would dialogue when he was in town,” said Lysacek’s former teacher, Lance Fuhrer.
His hard work has paid off and back at Creative Nursery School there might be a future Olympian. One thing is for sure, they’re all rooting him on to gold.