Exasperated Carroll still high on Nagasu

Lysacek visit peps up Lake Arrowhead practice sessions

Evan Lysacek lent some wisdom to Frank Carroll's other students recently.
Evan Lysacek lent some wisdom to Frank Carroll's other students recently. (Getty Images)


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(11/11/2010) - After all these years, Frank Carroll still doesn't like the cold.

The veteran coach has set up shop at his old stomping grounds in Lake Arrowhead, where he most famously trained Michelle Kwan, pending the opening of a new rink in Palm Springs.

"The owner, Anthony Liu, is a little tricky about dates," Carroll said. "I don't have an opening [target date] but I hope it's before January 1st. I really hate snow."

In Portland, Carroll is tending to one of his international pupils, Kazakhstan's Denis Ten, and "keeping one eye on" Daisuke Murakami of Japan, who also trains in Arrowhead.

His top lady, Mirai Nagasu, is hard at work doing run-throughs back home after a rough start to her Grand Prix season at Cup of China last week. The U.S. silver medalist won the short but missed most of the jumps in her free and ended up off of the podium.

"I hope I kept my composure [in the kiss & cry]; I tried to keep a smile on my face, but I was mad," Carroll said. "I was disappointed for her. I felt she could have kept it going better than she did. She's a well-trained athlete.

"In the [six-minute] warm-up she was actually better than all of the other girls. She was fabulous, not one flaw, so I said wow! This is going to be good. And then she skated."

Carroll said Nagasu -- who was off the ice this summer with a stress fracture -- just didn't have enough time to feel "100 percent secure" with her free skate.

"Really, she only had two weeks that she was really hitting the program [in practice]," she said. "She was in a cast for two months and it's hard to get back. The kind of stress fracture she had can be very serious. There have been basketball players who have had their careers ended because of it. Mirai was very lucky that Dr. Jung, who works with the L.A. hockey team, diagnosed it."

Ironically, being in first after the short may have worked against Nagasu.

"She said, 'I hate being in first,'" Carroll said. "I said, 'So pick a spot, one through six, and [pretend] you're there.' Isn't it the goal to be first in everything, short, figures, free? You want to be first all the way through. She can do it."

Another of Carroll's students, Evan Lysacek, has never had much trouble dealing with being a front-runner. Nagasu got a pep talk from the Olympic champion, who skated three sessions at Lake Arrowhead last week.

"He really chased her around the rink," Carroll said. "He talked to her."

Lysacek came to the rink armed with all of his old artillery.

"He called me, said he missed skating, and asked to stay with me; I have a two-bedroom place [in Arrowhead] and I said, sure, come up. The only bad part was he made me cook for him," Carroll said.

"He's amazing. He did his Olympic programs, with his triple Axel, and later did a quad."

Those run-throughs were just for fun; Lysacek is working on a new show program, choreographed by Lori Nichol.

"I don't think Evan will compete this season, but [who knows] for the future," he said. "He said to someone else, not me, 'I don't want to be a 24-year-old retiree.'

"It was great having him there; all the kids worked harder after seeing that, let me tell you."

Quick hits from Portland: Adam Rippon, who turned 21 today, practiced the quad toe in this morning's practice and may put it into his free skate.

"It depends on how I feel; I have a few days to decide," he said. "I'm about 50/50 in practice, so the percentage is not too good. I stand up, but I turn out of it or two foot it."

This is Ten's second competition with Carroll, who said he's still getting to know his new student.

"I don't know him that well; I'm still trying to decipher him."