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2012 U.S. Championships, Jeremy Abbott looked ready to challenge for a spot on the po- dium in Nice. It was not to be, but the three-time U.S. champion is far from discouraged. “I was really going to this championships to fight for a medal, so for me it was disappointing,” the 26-year-old skater said. “I’m fired up for next season. Even though I didn’t get what I wanted from this championships, I left with a lot of con- fidence. I’m starting to really believe in myself.” Abbott’s entertaining short program to big band swing hits, so dazzling all season long, drew cheers in Nice for its brisk pacing and snappy steps. Still, a fall on the second jump of his triple flip-triple toe combination and the doubling of a planned triple Lutz put him in ninth place enter- ing the free skate. “Considering how awful my skate was, I am

really happy with these [program] components scores,” he said. “Had I skated the way I should have, they would have gone to the 9s.” His free to “Exogenesis Symphony” by Muse

began well, with a quadruple toe loop and triple Axel combination. Mistakes crept in during the second half, including a poorly landed second triple Axel, and single loop, and Abbott ended up eighth with 226.19 points. “Why do I have more problems at Worlds?

I don’t know,” he said. “Te past year and a half, I’ve really been working hard with a sports psy-

chologist and doing as much mental training as I have physical. I think that’s been helping. I’ve just been improving so much, and I think it will happen for me. I will make it happen.” Tere was no crisis of confidence for Patrick Chan, who defended the title he won last season. After a season’s-best short, the Canadian jugger- naut made a few mistakes in his free, including a sloppy fall on the takeoff of a double Axel, but landed two quad toes and a triple Axel to take gold with 266.11 points, more than six points ahead of Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi. “Maybe that’s my trademark; I always have

a weird fall,” Chan said after his free skate. “I was late to the music and rushed through the takeoff. Other than the double Axel, it was a great pro- gram.” Many in the crowd did not agree, booing as Chan was announced the winner. Tey pre- ferred Takahashi’s cleaner, jazzier performance to “Blues for Klook,” that included a quad toe and two strong triple Axels. Takahashi, who won the World title in 2010, must be looking over his shoulder a bit at 2010 World Junior champion Yuzuru Hanru, the elegant, yet athletic 17-year-old who climbed from seventh after the short to win the bronze medal at his first senior World Championships. Te youngster defeated his countryman in the free skate and wound up with 251.06 points. U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon, who

trains alongside Abbott under coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen at the Detroit Skating Club, left Nice disappointed but determined. Te two-time World Junior champion had

trouble with his triple Axel in the practices, and it followed him into his entertaining “Korobushka” short, where he also had an uncharacteristic step- out on the landing of his trademark “Rippon” triple Lutz, done with both arms overhead. Te triple Axel trouble continued in his free

skate to Bach’s “Air and Fugue,” when he fell on his first attempt and turned out of his second. He also fell on an attempted quadruple Salchow, and ended in 13th place with 216.63 points. “Of course looking at it, it’s really disap- pointing to get 13th at Worlds, but I know where I made my big mistakes,” Rippon said. “I lost a lot of points in the short program making the two jumping errors, and it hurt me that I didn’t land a clean quad in the long. “I really struggled with [the triple Axel] when I got there, and I tried to keep it out of my mind. I had some small issues with it in the free skate but I’m still working through it, and I definitely do think I made a lot of progress with it.”

PAIRS U.S. pairs took a step forward in its quest to

become World and Olympic contenders with a solid showing in Nice.

Adam Rippon Jeremy Abbott

26 MAY 2012



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