03/02/2010 at 12:00 AM EST
Figure skater Evan Lysacek
may have won an Olympic gold in the Vancouver games, but he still has something to prove on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars
"I've been criticized my whole career for being robotic, cold, stiff on the ice. People have said -- direct quote -- that I have 'no dance ability on the ice whatsoever,'" he tells PEOPLE. "So DWTS
is my opportunity to prove them wrong. I just achieved my lifelong dream, now I'm already ready for the next challenge."
To conquer that challenge, Lysacek says he's willing to make a certain sacrifice and participate in a DWTS
ritual that he wouldn't normally enjoy: "Spray tans! I usually don't like to have them because I don’t like the smell of it, but I have had it before," he says. "Spray me up, baby! I’m going full-force on this show. I’m not going to hold anything back."
Apart from the cosmetic approach, Lysacek will work hard to follow in the footsteps of fellow figure skater and Dancing with the Stars
season 6 champ Kristi Yamaguchi
. "I'm a little nervous as it gets closer, because Apolo Ohno
and Kristi were so good, I think are going to expect me to be good right off the bat," he says. "Kristi actually really is a good dancer! I know I'm not a good dancer, but I'll definitely work hard."
And he'll be working overtime as well, traveling nationwide with Stars on Ice
while shooting DWTS
. Still, Lysacek says he is looking at the show as an opportunity to have some fun. "The last year has been so intense, and I felt like every step I took was so important," he says. "This is just going to be fun, and obviously it's a challenge so it's going to satisfy that side of me. And even if I do feel some pressure and I'm nervous, there's someone right next to me to hold my hand literally throughout the dance." --Lisa Ingrassia
Picture Perfect/Rex USA