SAN JOSE, Calif. - Jeremy Abbott was still savoring his monster score when one fan yelled out, “You’re awesome!’’
That he certainly was.
Abbott’s easy, breezy performance to a swing medley scored a whopping 90.23 points at the US Figure Skating Championships last night, a personal best and a mark that puts him in world champion Patrick Chan’s territory. The two-time national champion leads training partner Adam Rippon by a commanding 7.29 points going into tomorrow’s free skate. Armin Mahbanoozadeh was third.
Abbott is one of the most technically sound skaters in the world, with beautiful edges that carve the ice like a master craftsman and perfect body control. He’s also one of the few skaters who has managed to maintain the balance between the performance quality that makes figure skating so entertaining and the tough physical tricks the system now demands.
He took the ice with a rakish grin, popping his suspenders as he skated to center ice and fixing the audience with a wink. He opened up with a huge triple flip-triple toe loop combination that was silky smooth, and followed with a textbook triple axel. He was so light on his skates even Fred Astaire would have been jealous.
Abbott’s performance would have been tough for anyone to top, and no one came close. Richard Dornbush, last year’s silver medalist, was a mess, botching every one of his jumps. Brandon Mroz, the 2009 runner-up, fell on a quad toe and also brushed the ice with his free leg on his triple lutz-double toe combination.
Earlier yesterday, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the first US team to win a world ice dance title, easily won the short dance.
Their score was four-plus points ahead of Maia and Alex Shibutani, last year’s US runners-up. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were a distant third. Free dance is tomorrow.