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U.S. skater Evan Lysacek won the hearts of America (and the men's figure skating judges) last week, winning an Olympic gold medal for his spirited performance on the ice. Now it seems he's won the heart of a fellow Olympian, as well. Lysacek -- the first U.S. male figure skater to win Olympic gold in 22 years -- officially confirmed to People that he is dating gymnast Nastia Liukin.
Lysacek, 24, and Liukin, 20, met in late 2008, but began dating last summer. The pair attended the ESPY's together last July and their relationship has only grown stronger, according to Lysacek: "We became good friends and have become really close since then."
Liukin, a gold medal winner for the U.S. gynmastics team after her champion performace in Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics, ventured to Vancouver to cheer on her beau. "To see his dreams come true was amazing," says Liukin, a native of Moscow (both her parents were Soviet gymnastics champs before moving to the U.S.). "Even though we're not in the same sport, we got to connect at the same level because there's nothing like the Olympics. It was nice to be on other side of things and be the support system, but I was nervous."
Lysacek says Liukin's emotional support at the Olympic Winter Games has made a significant difference. "She been so helpful to me," he said. "She has been through it herself. If I'm having a bad day, she tells me to have faith and to keep going. Sometimes your support system has more faith in you than yourself. And when she tells me things are going to be fine, I really believe it."
Liukin was also there to help Lysacek weather the controversy surrounding silver medalist Evgeni Plushenko -- whom Russian delegates claim should have taken home the mens' figure skating gold instead of Lysacek. "I think he's handling the controversy well," says Liukin, "You work your hardest all year and when have something like that happen to you, it crushes you a little bit. Evan was a little upset, and I told him, 'You have worked your entire life and you have achieved the biggest reward in your sport, so enjoy every aspect of it.' "
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