As the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships kick off this week, the U.S. men will take to the ice on Friday, January 10 and put to rest the debate that has gone on all season about who the shinning stars really are in U.S. men’s figure skating.
Though there are clear front runners in almost every discipline in U.S. figure skating, it has been fairly clouded in the men's discipline as some men, with very high hopes, did not meet expectations while other new faces rose onto the scene, leaving fans and viewers unsure of who will stand on top of the podium at the end of this week and who will be named to the coveted Olympic team. So who should you keep an eye out for? Let’s take a look:
Jeremy Abbott is probably the most seasoned veteran of the group, having made it to the 2010 Olympic Games, placing ninth. Winning gold at the 2009, 2010 and 2012 U.S. Championships, he is definitely a contender. Abbott captured the bronze at last year’s nationals and this season has been a roller coaster ride filled with both disastrous skates followed by extraordinary ones. It’s hard to know just what Jeremy will do, but one thing is for sure, when he is on, he is exceptional.
Reigning U.S. Champion, Max Aaron is hungry to defend his title, yet his hunger might not be enough. After having his break out season at nationals last year, Max has struggled on his new platform, leaving everyone wondering if he has what it takes to win it again. Aaron trains incredibly hard and is truly driven, yet his lack of experience and inability to cope with new environments might get the best of him. After reviewing this season, Max and his coaching team have determined to remove one of his planned quadruples in his free skate and have mixed up his music in his free skate as well. Hopefully these changes will be enough for Aaron to come back strong and defend his title.
Adam Rippon is another one who is definitely in the mix when talking about the Olympic Team. Rippon captured the silver at nationals in 2012 and placed fifth at last years nationals, and is back this season with a renewed sense of confidence. One of the few men in the world to preform a quadruple lutz, Adam has a lot of great qualities and seems to be pulling them all together this season winning the silver at Skate America and coming in fourth at NHK. He has a ton of potential and with his new sense of self, he might just be ready to make this his breakout year.
A fan favorite, Jason Brown, has made quite a splash this season. He is the 2013 junior world silver medalist and though this is his first season as a senior, he has done exceptionally well winning the bronze at Trophee Bompard and coming in fifth at Skate America. What Brown lacks in not having a quadruple jump in his program, he makes up for with his component scores and his charisma and flare that brings the audience to their feet.
Another rookie making his senior debut is Joshua Farris. Farris is the reigning junior world champion originally from Renton, Washington. Only 19-years-old, Joshua has an amazing artistic ability that is quite captivating. Skating to Schindler’s List for his free skate, this skater is full of talent. If his nerves do not get the best of him, Joshua might just end up in the mix as well.
Ross Minor captured the silver medal at last year’s nationals but has had a pretty bumpy season. Richard Dornbush and Stephen Carriere could be wildcards in the mix, but only time will tell how these men will do under the pressure of not only a U.S. Championships, but also the Olympic qualifier.
Check your local listing to view the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. You will not want to miss this exciting week of figure skating where tears will be shed, frustration will not go unnoticed and the joy of making the Olympic Team will erupt.