Thursday, April 30, 2009

Breakout year for men's U.S. Champion

The 2008-09 season was a good one for USA's Jeremy Abbott, who scored his first major national and international wins this year.

The talented 23-year-old won an ISU Grand Prix event for the first time when he took gold at the Cup of China to start his season. With a fourth place at the Cup of Russia, he qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final in Goyang, Korea - another career first - where he took the title and earned new personal best scores in all phases of the competition.

"My goal was just to make the Final and skate my best," said Abbott. "I had no expectations for the outcome. I felt horribly nervous for the free, but I had a good warm up. I was able to contain myself and keep composed and I felt that was more exciting than winning."

"I've been working with a sports psychologist, Gayle Davis, and she's given me techniques to keep myself focused and controlled," he continued.

His dream season continued as Abbott won his first gold medal at the senior level at the 2009 U. S. Figure Skating Championships after finishing fourth the last two years. "I felt a lot of pressure after the Grand Prix Final to win the title, so it was a big weight off of my shoulders when I won."

In his last tune up before Worlds, Abbott placed fifth for a second straight year at the 2009 Four Continents Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia. "I used Four Continents as a platform for Worlds," he said. "Nationals was physically and emotionally draining, and having such a short time period between Nationals and Four Continents was really difficult."

At Worlds, Abbott again finished 11th, the same as in 2008. "I didn't expect myself to be in this position," he said. "I gave my full heart. I really didn't feel that the mistakes that I made were great enough to justify my scores."

In the short, Abbott touched down at the end of his opening triple flip-triple toe and stepped out of a triple Axel, which was downgraded by the judging panel. However, he recovered with a great triple Lutz and earned positive Grades of Execution on all of his non-jumping elements.

Full article.

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