Thursday, February 11, 2010

Abbott flies high under the radar

When The Today Show's Matt Lauer interviewed Jeremy Abbott at New York's Rockefeller Center last Friday, he made a telling observation.

"It seems you're staying just a little bit below the radar," Lauer said.

While Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir vie for headlines, magazine profiles and high-fashion pictorials, the man who defeated both at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, winning his second straight U.S. title and executing a perfect quad in the process, is going quietly about his business.

"I could say all I want, I could say I will be Olympic champion, but it doesn't matter unless I go out there and perform," Abbott, 24, said.

"I think Johnny's an entertainer and he's a lot of fun to be around because you never know what he's going to come up with or what's going to come out of his mouth. Evan is full of confidence. That's great. Johnny won a medal at worlds [in 2008] and Evan is the world champion."

Still, if he duplicates or betters the programs he laid down at the U.S. Championships, the understated Abbott will make quite a splash in Vancouver and could come away with a medal, perhaps gold. But that's not his focus.

"At nationals, I wanted to improve upon my performances on the Grand Prix and continue to build and peak at the right time," he said.

"It's going to be the same for Vancouver. It's a judged sport and I don't have control over my placement, I just have control over how I skate, so I just want to improve upon what I did and we'll see where I end up."

ICE: You skated a clean short and long in Spokane, including a quad toe. How can you improve for Vancouver?

JEREMY ABBOTT: I did a lot of really great things in Spokane and I took a huge step forward. But I felt that the free program was a little unpolished, I could do a little more improvement in that. And we're adding a second triple Axel where the first triple Lutz is so that's another step. Also, I didn't get all my spin levels, I think I got [Levels] 4, 3, 2, and they're all [intended to be] 4s, so just making sure the details are there for that.

The short program I was very proud of, but I thought the flip and the Lutz could have been better. These are all things that will be addressed. Just continue to train very hard and on to the next one.

Full interview.

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