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U.S. State Dept. names Lysacek Sports Envoy

Olympic gold medalist to make trip to Sweden, Belarus in next week

As a Sports Envoy, Evan Lysacek will use his considerable influence to continue to spread the word about the importance of sport and fitness.
As a Sports Envoy, Evan Lysacek will use his considerable influence to continue to spread the word about the importance of sport and fitness. (Getty Images)

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By Sarah S. Brannen, special to icenetwork.com
(04/06/2012) - The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has named 2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek a Sports Envoy. Lysacek left Friday for Europe; he will visit Stockholm, Sweden, and Minsk, Belarus, in the upcoming week.

While in Sweden, Lysacek will hold ice skating clinics, organized in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Sports Without Borders, with youth from the Stockholm area. He will conduct clinics with the Skating Union of Belarus in Minsk from April 11-13 and speak with students at the University of Physical Culture about the importance of sports in society. Lysacek will also attend a competition for wheelchair fencers and wheelchair dancers.

"As a figure skater, I have always been proud to represent the United States at competitions around the world," Lysacek said. "I am honored to be named a Sports Envoy and look forward to supporting the goals set by Secretary Clinton through sports diplomacy."

Earlier this week, Lysacek spoke about his eagerness for the upcoming trip while in Boston for the Skating Club of Boston's Ice Chips show on March 31.

"I've been checking the weather in Sweden and Belarus every day," he said.

Lysacek said he had been working with the State Department to prepare his speeches and has been doing some traveling to acclimate himself to his new position. He recently took a trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where there is a growing awareness of the need for physical exercise for women and young people.

"I gave an exhibition there, and they didn't advertise it, and 6,000 people came," he said.

Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's vision of "smart power" diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding.

Sports Envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches from a range of sports that travel overseas to conduct clinics and team-building activities as well as engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity.

Another exalted figure skater, Michelle Kwan, has served as a public diplomacy envoy for the State Department since 2006.

Information from the U.S. Department of State was used in this report