Skate coach Carroll expects his move won’t affect Nagasu


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Bumped into Frank Carroll at Monday night’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ show, where he was a front-row guest of his Olympic champion skater and ‘DWTS’ contestant Evan Lysacek.

Even though Carroll was dazed by his 24-hour Sunday trip back from the world championships in Turin, Italy, we talked briefly about news of another trip he is taking, moving his primary coaching base from the Toyota Sports Center near LAX to a new rink 130 miles east in Cathedral City, near his home in Palm Springs.


Carroll, 71, confirmed a report about the move that surfaced over the weekend on the figure skating fan site Michelle Kwan Forum. In our brief conversation, he said the move shouldn’t present any problems for his other Olympic skater, 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu. They began working together before the 2010 season.

‘From where she lives, it takes about the same time to get to Cathedral City as it does to [Toyota],’ Carroll said.

Carroll will remain at Toyota through July, then coach at Lake Arrowhead until the expected October opening of the rink in Cathedral City.

As for Lysacek, who lives about two hours closer to Toyota than to Cathedral City, he has yet to decide about remaining in competitive skating at the Olympic level.

During a Tuesday conversation in the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ lunch trailer, where he picked at fruit and salad, Lysacek said there would be ways for him to continue working with Carroll should he remain in Olympic-style skating.

‘If I go to my house in Las Vegas on the weekends, I could hit that rink on the way back [to Los Angeles, where he also will keep a residence] and train there for a couple days,’’ Lysacek said. ‘Frank has a huge house, so hopefully he wouldn’t mind if I stayed in one of his many bedrooms.

‘We haven’t really talked about it. He didn’t want to distract me before the Olympics. I just sort of heard it [the move] was happening very quickly, but I was busy with all of this, and he was getting ready for worlds. I’m sure I will also continue to train here at Toyota Sports Center because I live here.

‘My general feeling is if I am going to go for another Olympics, I can’t miss a whole season. So I would have to decide soon and be ready to compete in the fall.’

Before he went into the ‘DWTS’ ballroom, where he sat between Lysacek’s mother, Tanya, and 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski, Carroll shook his head over the mistake -- and the mind-set -- that had cost Nagasu a world bronze medal last week, when she won the short program but finished 11th in the free skate and seventh overall in Turin.

‘She kept telling me, ‘I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared’ before going out on the ice for the free skate,’’ Carroll said, ‘and that’s obviously something we will have to work on.’

Despite several major mistakes -- including a fall on a double axel -- Nagasu finished just 3.14 points behind bronze medalist Laura Lepisto. Had Nagasu merely stayed upright on the double axel and received a neutral grade of execution, it would have been worth 3.47 more points than she received for the botched, downgraded execution of a relatively simple jump for a skater of her level.

‘All season long, we have been telling her, ‘Skate, skate’ when she comes out of the spread eagle and goes into the double axel, but she still had the tendency to slow down, and this time it really was costly,’ Carroll said.

The coach still was extremely pleased with Nagasu’s season, given her having finished second at the U.S. championships and fourth at the Olympics, the two events before worlds.

‘Her last six programs, five of them were great,’ he said. ‘And seventh at your first [senior] worlds isn’t that bad. Dorothy Hamill [the 1976 Olympic champion] was seventh in her first worlds.’'

-- Philip Hersh

Evan Lysacek and partner Anna Trebunskaya perform the jive Monday on Week 2 of the current edition of ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ For the second week in a row, judges gave them the second-highest scores. Adam Larkey /ABC