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Abbott rules men's short program, but Brown impressive too

Posted by She's Game Sports  January 11, 2014 01:27 AM

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Jason Brown is in third after the men's short program. (Associated Press)

Minutes before the men's short program warm up at the US Figure Skating Championships, a video preview blasted from the TD Garden jumbo screen. The music was a perfect prelude to this event.

"Eye of the Tiger" was made famous by the Rocky movies. With no clear favorite, it's anyone's battle to win. It was also widely believed the knockout punch would come in the form of a quad jump.

Jason Brown didn't need one, and now I know why.

This ponytailed 19-year-old is fast becoming the hottest thing on ice. His program set to "The Question of You" by Prince brought the house down. The musical selection makes sense given he is on this way to becoming a figure skating rock star.

No quad, just a bunch of hot moves, fantastic spins and beautiful triples. Brown's skating is not a "program," it is a "performance." I am completely sold on this kid. I am not sure he will ever win the Olympics, although I am quite sure he could win "Dancing with the Stars." Tomorrow.

His short program was rewarded with a huge score of 87.47. I will take his skating over 100 shaky quads any day. Jason Brown is the total package. Good for him, and good for figure skating. There is too much emphasis on the quad. It bugs me that skaters get points "just for trying" the jump, even if they two-foot, touch a hand down, or heaven forbid, fall on it. That's crazy.

Boston's own Ross Miner did a smooth, well choreographed, classic program set to "The Way We Were." The program was flawed only by one popped jump, and it cost him in the scoring. His overall flow and spins were nicely done. Miner is sitting in eighth place, out of the running for Sochi.

First out in the final group was "old timer" Jeremy Abbott. The 28-year-old veteran has not lost his fastball, folks. The quad toe/triple toe came first. Check. Triple lutz. Check. Triple Axel check. His score of 99.86 put the 2010 Olympian in place to make the team again.

Max Aaron was the only skater left with a chance of catching Abbott. Aaron is a former hockey player, with a fearless attitude. He has said that he is not afraid of falling. Most skaters are. Aaron stepped up and delivered a spirited and energetic program to a Latin beat. It was not good enough to catch Abbott, or Richard Dornbush, or Brown.

Abbott, like Rocky Balboa is a fighter. He answered the bell with a stunning short program, and on Sunday he will have to come out swinging again. And he better be prepared to go the distance.

Other skating notes from Day 2:

• Ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White were terrific in their short dance. Skating to "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady, the team looked like the world champions they are. She was the perfect Audrey Hepburn, and he was much cuter than Rex Harrison. They are on their way to gold in Sochi. I'm calling it now.

• After watching the ladies practice, I have to say Gracie Gold is impressive. She hit every triple jump and looks ready to win. Coaching legend Frank Carroll has been good for her. Let's see if she can hold up Saturday night. Two-time defending champion Ashley Wagner sits in fourth place. Wagner is the reason the women will be sending three skaters to Sochi, thanks to her success last year at World's.

Starting tomorrow these skaters will be playing for all the marbles- the Olympic team.

It's a big stage - and a slippery one.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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