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For Jeremy Abbott it’s now or never

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When Jeremy Abbott was 24-years-old he went to his first Olympic Games in 2010 and left without a medal. Now four years later he is getting a second and final chance to achieve his dream.

After having an incredible skate at the 2010 U.S. Championships and winning the title, Abbott went into the Vancouver Olympics overwhelmed by the immense pressure.

"I was absolutely terrified; I was scared out of my mind,” Jeremy said during a teleconference last week. "I didn't have any goals for the Games; my only goal was to make the team. I skated perfectly at nationals, and I had people coming up to me saying, 'Oh, you do that, you're going to win the Olympics.’

"I hadn't even thought about winning the Olympics, or medaling at the Olympics, or about anything other than going," he continued. "So, I was freaking out. I don't even know how I got myself to do that in the first place and you want me to do it again? It was kind of like my own personal nightmare.”

This type of stress is what drove Jeremy to a shaky performance at the Olympics finishing a disappointing ninth. Since then Abbott has continued to actively compete, where he has experienced many ups and downs in his career. From an eighth place finish at the World Championships in 2012 to a third place finish at the 2013 U.S. Championships, sometimes it is difficult to know what to expect when he takes the ice, but for Jeremy it seems like it was all part of the plan.

"We made a plan over the last two years and really stuck to it," Jeremy said, "It's been progressing kind of methodically, just slow and steady. I have been seeing the progress at home, and you guys all saw it in Boston.”

At the U.S. Championships in Boston, Jeremy broke the American record in his short program earning 99.86 points. His short program was absolutely brilliant and though he had some errors in his free skate, it was still a strong skate worthy of the national title.

"I know exactly how I did it in Boston and how I went about my training," he said. "It's not like I have perfect days and every day is exceptional. I know what I'm doing and I know how to build my training.”

With a win at the U.S. Championships followed by the Olympic Games in 2010 and now again in 2014, this could easily follow the pattern of his last Olympic experience, yet this time Jeremy is armed with strategic training, maturity and experience.

“My mindset’s been very good, and it’s been completely different from four years ago. I feel much more grounded and I feel like everything’s really kind of right on track and I’m excited about this one. I’m really looking forward to it,” Jeremy said.

Abbott has decided that this will be his final competitive season. Hopefully this second chance at the Olympics will have a redemptive quality as he trades his terror for excitement as he enters his final Olympic Games.

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