This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Abbott, Brown give gritty, memorable performances by BARB REICHERT

T ey are two men moving forward, yet in diff erent di-

rections. While separated in age by nearly a decade, the dra- matic events that unraveled in Sochi will long connect their careers, no matter how diff erent their collective experience. Jeremy Abbott, 28, a two-time Olympian and four-time U.S. champion, will be remembered for his gritty determina- tion after a devastating fall in his last Olympic short program. Jason Brown, 19, who reached the Olympics in just his

fi rst senior international season, became U.S. Figure Skat- ing’s fi rst Internet sensation for both his skill and personality. Neither could have predicted that the Olympic men’s

competition, and their roles in it, would go down as one of the most memorable in history. T e competition opened in epic fashion, as Russian

sporting icon Evgeni Plushenko shocked the world by with- drawing on the ice after his name was announced. While some may debate it was a premeditated move, no one can challenge that his two performances in the inaugural Team Event helped lead host Russia to the gold medal. But as the crowd still murmured of the sudden end to the 31-year-old Plushenko’s career, Abbott, skating 11th, took the ice. Abbott, who fi nished ninth at the 2010 Vancouver Games, knew if he skated cleanly he had a true shot at the

podium. T is is how he wanted to end his career. T is is how he wanted to silence his critics. Instead, as he began the entrance to his fi rst jump — a quad toe — disaster struck. Abbott’s dreams came crashing down in a split second as his body hit the ice hard, hip fi rst. T e fall seemed to shake the ice, even knocking back an NBC cameraman positioned near the boards. Dazed by pain and the enormity of the moment, Ab- bott clutched his right hip and lay against the bottom of the boards for an excruciatingly long 13 seconds. Coach Yuka Sato took steps toward joining her fallen skater on the ice. “I was in a lot of pain,” Abbott said later. “I was laying

there and I was kind of shocked. I was waiting for the music to stop, and that didn’t happen. I was like, ‘Do I go to the referee?’ I wasn’t quite sure.” T e video confi rms Abbott’s confusion. “It mentally knocked the wind out of me,” he said. “I didn’t know how to react.”

Jason Brown

entertains the packed house with his popular Riverdance program.

Jason Brown plays to the cameras as he and coach Kori Ade await his free skate scores.

T ere is a moment in every athlete’s life when the decision to quit or continue must be made. T e moment can be framed by reason or instinct. In Jeremy Abbott’s moment, it was in- stinct rooted in decades of training that pushed him forward. “T e second I stood up, the audience was screaming,” he said. “I was like, ‘Forget it all. I’m fi nishing this program. I don’t care if I’m two minutes late or what happens with the rest of this, but I’m not going to give up this moment.’” With 14,000 fans applauding his resolve, Abbott found his muse and moved with the music. As he approached his next jump, a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, it felt as if an entire arena was holding its breath and then exhaled to- gether as Abbott landed it cleanly. To the untrained eye, he continued his performance seemingly without a hitch and remarkably fi nished on time. “T is is where being an experienced performer really

came to his advantage,” Sato said. “He knew exactly which pattern to cut without becoming aff ected and get as much done as a required element. He still fi gured out a way to fi n- ish in time. T at is really amazing. … Jeremy is extremely gifted in this way.” Abbott’s short program score of 72.58 — almost 15

points lower than his personal best — eff ectively knocked him out of medal contention. Bruised physically and emo- tionally, he returned the next night to compete in the free skate, toning down his program by removing a quad and painful loops. T e history books will record Abbott’s fi nal placement

as 12th overall, but his inspiring will to fi nish captured the hearts of Olympic fans across the world. “I have to thank all the people in the audience and in- ternational fans in this arena,” he said. “It’s really because of them that I fi nished the program, honestly. I’m so thankful and grateful for them. As much as a disappointment as this is, I’m not ashamed. I stood up and I fi nished that program

20 APRIL 2014



Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71