- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Figure Skating in Harlem has a newly crowned world champion supporting it: Evan Lysacek.

The first American to win the men’s gold medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in 13 years, Lysacek will skate with club members and supporters at the organization’s gala celebration on Monday. He is a board member of the club that provides figure skating opportunities for young girls from the inner city.

“The best part of being an elite athlete and role model is being afforded the opportunity of working with amazing organizations like Figure Skating in Harlem,” said Lysacek, who won the world crown last week in Los Angeles. He also owns two bronze medals from worlds.

“I’ve had the great privilege of building a relationship with Figure Skating in Harlem, starting in 2006, after the Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, and have truly enjoyed meeting the girls from the program; watching them grow and develop into bright, talented young ladies, many moving on to pursue college degrees.”

Lysacek lives and trains in Los Angeles, but admitted when he comes east, one of his favorite activities is mingling with FSH members.

“I wish I could be more involved, and any chance I have to spend time with the participants and wonderful individuals that make this organization such a success on and off the ice, I jump at,” he said.

Also skating in the gala will be 2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, who won the ice dance silver medal at worlds last week; Olympic champions Dorothy Hamill, Sarah Hughes and Viktor Petrenko; and 2006 world champion Kimmie Meissner.

The club will honor former pairs skater Tai Babilionia and Michelle Paige Paterson, wife of New York Gov. David Patterson.

Figure Skating in Harlem has served hundreds of New York City girls since 1997 with an innovative education and ice-skating program.

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