Evan Lysacek is out of the Grand Prix series, and Chicago Tribune's Phil Hersh is reporting that financial issues are the culprit. The first Grand Prix event is Skate America, taking place next weekend in Ontario, California.
According to the article, Lysacek was unhappy with the athlete contract.
"Evan wasn't satisfied with our athlete contract," said Barb Reichert, USFS communications director. "Therefore, he has decided not to compete on the Grand Prix circuit."
Reichert confirmed the problems involved money.
In text messages to me early Saturday morning, Lysacek declined comment on details of the issues between him and USFS but said they had not affected his training.
"I am in the best shape of my life," he said. "I'll continue to train with the hope an agreement can be reached by the U.S. Championships."
Hersh reports that athletes were known to get up to six-figures in athlete contracts back when skating was a bigger television draw. It was reported earlier that Lysacek was surprised that he was being used to promote Skate America, although I'm not sure why that would be a surprise, for a home country federation to use its own Olympic gold medalist to promote an event he was entered into. I am just confused because before we had heard that it was training issues that might be keeping Lysacek out and now it is a contract.
To be honest, I am not very familiar with athlete contracts. I don't think US Figure Skating reveals what the contracts are worth for each athlete. It's unfortunate that Lysacek pulled out over money issues.
Lysacek's coach, Frank Carroll, stated that Lysacek is in great shape. It appears he is still planning on skating at U.S. Nationals.
Douglas Razzano will replace Lysacek in the event.