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to improve all aspects of his skating. I feel like I am working with one of the best-conditioned athletes in the world and that is an exciting posi- tion to be in because the sky is the limit.”


SUMMER PLANS Aaron plans to devote most of this summer


to training. “I’m doing the Skate for Hope show; I’m


looking forward to supporting that cause (breast cancer awareness and research),” he said. He plans to compete at a summer event but


hadn’t yet decided which. “I really want to come out and step up my game next season, and get the component mark up there,” he said. “I want everyone to be shocked when they see me — ‘Is that Max Aaron?’” Aaron is still sensitive about comments he


read about himself after he won the U.S. title, but he’s turning the negative energy to a positive force.


“It defi nitely upsets me, but I didn’t want to take it in a negative way, because that would just destroy me,” he said. “I used it as fuel. I would never, ever think of saying anything disrespectful


to anyone. I want to show that I deserve to be with the best of them. I’m here to prove myself and show the world that I’m meant to be there.” “T is is what he’s always wanted, to compete against the best in the world,” Mindy Aaron said. “T at’s all he ever wanted, to get a medal for his country.”


“I always look back to what my grandfather


told me,” Max said. “He said, ‘If you’re not skat- ing for the Olympic gold, why are you skating?’ T at’s why we do it. It may seem like a farfetched goal, but in my heart I don’t think anything can stop me.”


Mastering the quad Aaron has worked hard to consistently land his quadruple Salchow,


and he’ll be applying the same principles in adding the quadruple toe loop to his repertoire. “You don’t really respect the quad until you do it every day,” he said.


“Adding a quad in the program is very diffi cult and I respect anyone who even attempts it. It’s mentally tough and also physically. You need the strength, but you’re going to fall a lot and take a beat- ing.”


“What we have developed in the


last four years is his ability to establish an axis when he leaves the ice in one rotation,” coach Tom Zakrajsek said. “We have refi ned his rotating position so that his feet are tighter and his arms are more compact.” “The minute your left arm is behind


you, or your three-turn is too fast, if your hips don’t turn in time, if your foot isn’t in the right place, anything will throw you off ,” Aaron said. “The force of a quadruple is huge. You don’t want to feel insecure in a quad, or you’ll go down, and you’ll go down hard.” If all goes as planned next season,


Aaron will be one of a very small group of men with three quads in their free skates. “Not many men do it for a reason,” he


said. “When I was trying to train it for World Team Trophy, I understood, fi nally, why not many men do it. It’s so extremely tough to do it every single day. I thought two quads was hard, but doing three is even harder. Every day you have to train two separate quads and train the entire program. You have to make an adjustment in the training regimen. I haven’t tweaked my off -ice program yet for three quads; I have to take everything into consid- eration. There’s no detail that goes unmarked, especially with me, I’m very detail-oriented and everything has to have a reason why I do it.”


26 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013


Much of Aaron’s rise to stardom can be attributed to his ability to land the most diffi cult jump in fi gure skating — the quad. He’ll attempt to incor- porate three into his free skate this season.


RONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES


NBC OLYMPICS/USOC


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