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FIGURE SKATING

Evan Lysacek is cheered by practice performance

His sharp and enthusiastic skate draws applause from crowd, and he says the good run-through gives him hope in the competition.

March 25, 2009|Diane Pucin and Helene Elliott

Evan Lysacek ran through his short program Tuesday and drew big applause after a sharp and enthusiastic skate to his "Bolero" music.

"I think it went really well," Lysacek said. "I've been looking forward to this event for a long time. I'm excited, but I don't want to be too excited. The fact that the run-through today went so well gives me hope. Usually it's a little lackluster being in the practice rink, so it's good that it went so well today."

While Lysacek freely gave interviews, the two other American men who practiced Tuesday, Jeremy Abbott and Brandon Mroz, were put off-limits by their coach, Tom Zakrajsek.

Zakrajsek, who also coaches Rachael Flatt, says he prefers to keep his skaters totally focused on practice.

"Today was time to work out some of the kinks," Zakrajsek said. "The hardest thing for a skater to do in this situation is staying in the present, not letting their minds get too far in the future."

Mroz took a couple of hard falls as he worked on his quadruple toe-double-toe combination jump that he has planned for his long program, but Zakrajsek isn't worried.

"That wasn't an emphasis of practice," Zakrajsek said. "He twitched two very good ones too. It was just about getting in the reps."

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An oldie but goody

Scott Hamilton, the 1984 men's Olympic gold medalist, recently announced he would return to the ice after a five-year absence.

Hamilton, 50, hasn't performed since he was diagnosed with a benign pituitary brain tumor in 2004. Before that health scare, he overcame testicular cancer.

His plans don't go beyond the occasional charity show, but his return in any form undoubtedly will be warmly welcomed because he is a born performer and crowd pleaser.

But he cautions his fans not to expect too much.

"I'm going to make sure the tennis balls on my walker go smoothly over the ice," he joked. "Depends look good under spandex."

And while he's an inspiration to many people because of all that he has overcome, he says he draws inspiration from someone else.

A hockey fan and season-ticket holder for the Nashville Predators, Hamilton said he drew encouragement from the return of forward Steve Sullivan from a severe back injury.

"And he's a little guy too," Hamilton said of Sullivan, who is generously listed on the team's roster as 5 feet 9 and 165 pounds. "I almost cried when he came back."

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All in the family

Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, and her husband, Ducks defenseman Bret Hedican, will appear at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana on Thursday morning.

Their visit will be televised live on KTLA Channel 5.

They will be bringing to life an exhibit that compares figure skates and ice skates, with Yamaguchi modeling one and Hedican the other. We'll leave it to you to guess who's modeling which.

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

helene.elliott@latimes.com

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latimes.com/sports

Ticket to Vancouver

The Olympics blog revs up with posts on the World Figure Skating Championships, including guest bloggers who have been here and won. First is Kimmie Meissner, the 2006 world champion and 2007 U.S. champion, who will blog today.

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