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2014 U.S. National Championships

Abbott Secures Fourth U.S. Title with Moving ‘Muse’ Program,  Brown Scores Silver Medal with Memorable ‘Riverdance’ Program

 by Liz Leamy



(12 January 2014)  The men’s free skate featured all the stuff of a dramatic showdown and in the end, as in any good competition, it was about the contenders who really put themselves on the line and delivered the goods like true Hollywood players.

Jeremy Abbott, the veteran 28-year old three-time U.S. champion who brought the house down in the short with a phenomenal first place performance, clinched a fourth title with his moving free skate to Muse’s ‘Redemption,’ for which he earned a 174.71 for a total of 274.27.

The Aspen, Colorado native earned a standing ovation program for this performance, which seemed to serve as a definite message of sorts. He did a giant quad, two triple Axels, one in combination with a double toe and three other triples, a loop, lutz and toe, with power, aptitude and ease.

His riveting program was also defined by gorgeous edgework, turns and arm movements and he earned applause for a choreographed step sequence that with a moment that he knelt down and touched the ice. His spins were exceptional and defined by clean lines and good acceleration.

Abbott had a tenuous moment right before the start of his program, however, when he almost missed the minute deadline to start due to the fact that he had been pre-gaming with his coach, Yuka Sato, at the gate too long. Fortunately, he started his program without a problem thanks to the crowd, who counted down the seconds out loud.

“I’d like to thank the Academy,” joked Abbott about this following his program.

Jason Brown, the 19-year old Illinois native, brought down the house with his riveting interpretation to ‘Riverdance’ for which he earned a 182.61 and 270.08 total score, which ranked him in the prestigious ranking number two position.

From start to finish, it was evident this skater was on fire as he interpreted this fantastic Irish piece of music with the expertise of top international skater and Irish step dancer. He turned, twisted and leapt around the ice with verve, nerve and charisma as he executed a delayed triple Axel-triple toe, triple Axel, triple Lutz-loop-triple Salchow, triple flip-double toe, triple loop and one-handed triple Lutz from interesting entries including a hydroplane and 180-degree leg stretch position.

Brown, who scored the best free skate marks of the afternoon, also did spins characterized by terrific velocity and flexibility that matched the excitement level of his jump acumen.

Visibly delighted at the conclusion of his program, a tearful Brown shook his head and acknowledged his gratitude and delight to the TD Garden audience, most of who were on their feet loudly clapping for him.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more, I enjoyed every moment,” said Brown. “I went out there, I was so trained and I was ready to fight for whatever I could. That’s what I did.”

Max Aaron, the 2013 U.S. titlist, came up third for his polished, high-fueled interpretation to ‘Carmen’ that earned him a 173.49 and a total score of 260.44.

The Scottsdale, Arizona native knocked out a big quad Salchow-double toe loop, quad Salchow with a touchdown, triple Axel-double toe, triple Axel, triple Lutz-double Salchow sequence, triple flip, triple loop and triple toe, executing all of these elements with great strength, attack and skill.

His portrayal of the male lead in this famous opera story was intriguing as he skated around depicting the struggle of doomed love with great frustration and emotion, showing more maturity in his artistry compared to last season.

Reputed to be one of the most exciting skaters in this event, he pushed into his edges with great energy and power throughout this program and held the attention of virtually everyone in the arena from start to finish and received a standing ovation.

“Well it definitely helps being the reigning champion but once again, it comes down to who is prepared and ready,” said Aaron. “Really it’s about who can handle the pressure and being able to compete under pressure. But now I feel satisfied I gave it a good attack.