NEW YORK — Evan Lysacek says his gold-medal performance in men's figure skating has not sunk in yet and that he would love "to be there" for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Lysacek became the first U.S. man to win the Olympic gold medal since Brian Boitano in 1988, upsetting defending champion Evgeni Plushenko on Thursday night.
"What I'm really excited about was the performance," Lysacek said Friday morning while appearing on NBC's "Today" show. "I'll never forget it, and hopefully, this medal will start to sink in, but right now I'm just ecstatic about the whole night."
Lysacek says he felt his program was strong enough that he didn't need a quadruple jump to beat Plushenko, who led after the short program and does the difficult leap.
"I knew that the base of my program was really strong, and with the jumps and spins added and combine that total, I would be OK," the American said. "... Of course, I questioned it at times and thought maybe I should go for it. It's the Olympics, but at the same time, I still had a really difficult program and I was happy with the way I performed it."
Lysacek said he wasn't sure after Plushenko performed who had had won the gold.
"I didn't know, and I turned back to Frank (Carroll), my coach, and I said I don't care, if it's gold or silver," Lysacek said. "It was a winning performance for me."
And when he found out that he'd won?
"You almost can't believe it, when you've done it a thousand times in practice or hundreds of thousands of times and that time that it really counts that you've pulled it off, it's a great feeling," he said. "I was really emotional for the short, because that was sort of like my first step at this Olympics. But this whole event has just been a dream. ...
"It's so special, and to join names like Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, just like some of my idols in the sport and people that have given me so much inspiration, you know, it's an honor."
As for his plans for the 2014 Olympics, Lysacek joked that his defeat of Plushenko might make him unpopular in Russia.
"I don't know if I'm welcome in Russia for a little while," he said, before adding, "I'm kidding. I'd love to be there."