Jeremy Abbott left little doubt regarding his validity for the two-man Olympic team after winning the men’s short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Friday in Boston.
Defending champion Max Aaron, of Scottsdale, is in the familiar spot of fourth (86.95)-the same position he was in a year ago before winning the free skate in Omaha.
The three-time champion Abbott, who won the title in the last Olympic year, scored a 99.86 Friday, opening with a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination before hitting a triple Lutz and triple Axel.
“My goal here this week was to come and keep it business, and I’ve done a third of my goals,” Abbott said. “I have a lot of confidence in the long program, and I’m so happy with how the short program went. These are my last U.S. Championships, so I wanted to go out and enjoy it all, the energy, the crowd.”
Abbott said he went over his goals with his coach Yuka Sato, of the Detroit Skating Club, just before his performance, but would not reveal the other two since they were personal.
Last year, Abbott was also ahead after the short with an 84.10, before faltering to third after the free skate.
Richard Dornbush, who was sixth last year, skated second and carried a lead of 92.04 for most of the evening.
“My frame of mind was to be aggressive and not allow myself to hold back at all, and I was happy I was able to stay calm,” the 22-year-old Dornbush said. “To say that I’m happy is an understatement.”
Nineteen-year-old Jason Brown is in third place (87.47) after skating to the music of Prince.
“I trained really hard, and I put out a performance they way I’ve been training, so that’s all I really could ask for,” Brown said.
Reigning world junior champion Joshua Farris is in fifth place, Adam Rippon sixth, Douglas Razzano of the Coyotes Skating Club is in seventh, and Boston’s Ross Miner – the defending U.S. silver medalist, is eighth.
Aaron, like Abbott, opened with a quad, going for the Salchow-triple toe loop. He also put out a triple Axel and triple Lutz. The 21-year-old trains at the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs.
The free skate is at 10:50 a.m. MT Sunday on NBC, where Abbott will skate 19th and last.