Evan Lysacek, the reigning Olympic figure skating champion, announced Tuesday that a torn labrum in his left hip will prevent him from competing in Sochi.
Doctors told Lysacek last week that he was risking permanent damage when the injury had not progressed despite two months of aggressive treatment. He hasn't competed since the 2010 Vancouver Games, where he became the first American man to win the Olympic title since Brian Boitano in 1988.
Lysacek described the excruciating pain in his left hip as "like you're being electrocuted."
"This has been my entire life, training and representing my country," Lysacek told The Associated Press, pausing to fight back tears. "So it's just kind of difficult. As much as I knew it could go either way, I never accepted it wouldn't. I always thought it would work out. I was crushed. I am crushed."
Lysacek said doctors recommend that he take enough time off to let the injury completely heal. He also could undergo more surgery.
"I'm going to have to put the same focus on recovery and getting healthy that I put into training," he said.