He was odd man out last year, the third guy in line for two tickets to the world championships. Another weekend like that and Jeremy Abbott would be watching the Olympics from a sofa this time and he knew it.
“I said my goal here this week was to keep it business and get the job done,” the three-time men’s champion said Friday night after he’d done exactly that to win the short program at the US Figure Skating Championships by nearly 8 points with a 99.86 effort.
On a night when a number of other contenders didn’t skate up to the mark, Abbott’s clean skate, highlighted by a flawless quadruple toe-triple toe combination, put him in ideal position to earn one of the two spots for the Sochi Games. Given the volatile mix of candidates, few of whom performed well during the Grand Prix season, anyone who can put two decent outings together has a chance to spend February in an ice house by the Black Sea.
The other two men who managed it Friday were Richard Dornbush, the 2011 runner-up who hadn’t done much since, and Jason Brown, who was eighth last year. Dornbush opened with a clean quadruple salchow and triple axel and stayed airborne, tacking on a later triple lutz-triple toe combination that earned him more points than the quad. “To say that I’m happy is an understatement,” said Dornbush, who posted a 92.04 score.
Brown didn’t try a quad but he hit everything else, most notably his opening triple axel and triple flip-triple toe. “Before I skated my coach told me, ‘This is the Olympic year,’ ” Brown said. “ ‘This is the time where you fight. You fight for whatever you can.’ ”
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