December 10 - American Olympic men's figure skating champion Evan Lysacek will not defend his title at Sochi 2014 due to a hip injury, he announced today.
Lysacek had been the first American man since Brian Boitano at Calgary 1988 to win the Olympic individual skating title when he triumphed at Vancouver 2010.
He has not competed since winning gold in Vancouver and after a succession of injuries his withdrawal was widely predicted.
In August the 28-year-old tore the labrum in his left hip and, despite aggressive treatment and physical therapy, the injury has grown in seriousness over the last month.
Lysacek will refrain from skating until the injury is completely healed which, because of the need to secure his qualification beforehand, ends any prospects of competing at Sochi - although he does hope to return to action at some point.
Lysacek admitted "words cannot describe how disappointed I am to not be able to compete in Sochi."
"The proudest moments of my life have been representing the United States in the last two Winter Olympics," he added.
"I have suffered numerous injuries over the course of my skating career and they are some of the hardest things an athlete has to overcome.
"While none of my past injuries have sidelined me quite like this one, I remain determined to regain my health and skate again."
Following the announcement of the inaugural figure skating team event to be held at Sochi, Lysacek's withdrawal appears a blow for the United States team, although they did win the International Skating Union (ISU) World Team Trophy without him earlier this year in Tokyo.
In terms of the singles Canada's reigning world champion Patrick Chan will be among the favourites for the gold medal along with Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.
However, another Olympic gold medal winning veteren in Russia's Evgeny Plushenko, who finished runner-up behing Lysacek in 2010 four years after taking gold in Turin, will be a dark horse after announcing that he is in "excellent" health after recovering from his injury problems.
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December 2013: Teams announced for inaugural figure skating team event at Winter Olympics
June 2011: Plushenko given green light for Sochi 2014
March 2011: Figure skating champ Lysacek scoops James E Sullivan Award