Skip to content

Surging Abbott sets U.S. record, skates into first at U.S. Championships

Jan 10, 2014, 11:27 PM EST

Jeremy Abbott AP

BOSTON — In a program that was giving Jeremy Abbott nightmares, he delivered a dream come true on Friday night.

The three-time national champion was waking up in a cold sweat in the nights leading up to the U.S. Championships in Boston, but skated to a 99.86 at TD Garden to not only set a new U.S. record, but also launch himself into first place in an Olympic year.

“I was having these nightmares where I was in seventh place and too far out to make the Olympic team,” Abbott explained. “I would wake up crying; it was horrifying. Every single night I had this dream where I imploded in the short program.”

Abbott broke a record that 22-year-old Richard Dornbush set earlier in the night, the California-based skater electrifying the crowd with a 92.04. Teenager Jason Brown, just 19, was third, scoring a 87.47.

Abbott had made it public that this would be his final U.S. Championships, the Nationals winner in 2009, 2010 and 2012 saying that he would hang up his skates after this season – Sochi or not.

Davis/White skate closer to historic sixth U.S. title

“This whole week has been really special for me,” the 28-year-old Abbott told reporters. “I just wanted to live in it because it’s never happening again.”

But his program will happen again and again online in the digital archive, where fans will see that he started off with a monstrous quadruple Salchow-triple toe combination that sent the crowd into roars.

Abbott, who flopped at the Vancouver Games to a ninth-place finish, has been known to slip up – literally – when he gets his big elements under his belt. But he didn’t do that in Boston, the veteran hitting a triple Lutz and then later a triple Axel, skating with a kind of vigor and energy that only a record-setting performance can contain.

“I’ll never forget this performance,” Abbott said plainly.

Nor will Dornbush his. Second in 2011, Dornbush has been up and down for the last two seasons, placing a dismal 13th in 2012 and sixth a year ago. But he delivered a career-best as just the second skater of the night, sending a “top-that” message to his competitors with a landed quadruple Salchow and then a triple-triple combination.

“I’m not really a New Year’s resolution person, but I just said, ‘You know what? I want to land more quadruple Salchows in competition,'” Dornbush told reporters.

Abbott adores the ‘underdog’ status

Crowd favorite Brown, who was beaming after his short, doesn’t have a quad in his reportoire but that didn’t seem to matter, the Chicago native saving a triple Axel early and then drawing in an admiring Boston crowd.

“Being such a crowd favorite can be such a blessing and a curse,” Brown’s coach Kori Ade told NBCOlympics.com. “This has all come so quickly this year, having this much fan support where he’s stepping onto the ice and there’s more pressure on him.”

The pressure seemed to hurt Olympic hopefuls Max Aaron, the reigning U.S. champion, and a resurgent Adam Rippon, who placed fourth and sixth, respectively.

Only two American men will be placed on the U.S. Olympic team for Sochi, presumably the top two skaters at these Championships. But the U.S. Figure Skating Association will not name its team until Sunday night, following the men’s free skate, utilizing its international panel to select the two skaters.

“That was just fun,” Abbott said, breaking into a smile. “But I still have four and a half minutes to skate, eight more triples.”

And perhaps – if he can execute it – one more dream performance.

Latest Posts
  1. Steve Nash: Canada has ‘outside shot’ at Olympic basketball medal

    Mar 4, 2015, 9:39 AM EST

    Steve Nash Getty Images

    But a “50-50″ shot at qualifying for the Olympics this summer.

  2. Joakim Noah unlikely for EuroBasket, in doubt for Olympics

    Mar 4, 2015, 8:56 AM EST

    AP AP

    France may have to qualify for Rio with a team led by Tony Parker.

  3. Michael Phelps may be reinstated for World Championships, report says

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:20 PM EST

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Previously, Phelps and USA Swimming agreed he would withdraw from the World Championships team due to his DUI arrest.

  4. David Boudia scraps springboard plan; Nick McCrory retires

    Mar 3, 2015, 4:30 PM EST

    David Boudia Getty Images

    The Olympic champion competes next week for the first time since July.

  5. Pan American Games medals include Braille (photos)

    Mar 3, 2015, 11:07 AM EST

    Pan American Games medal

    How do the versions for Toronto 2015 compare to previous Pan Am Games medals?

  6. Fukushima, site of nuclear disaster, wants to host 2020 Olympic baseball

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:27 AM EST

    Fukushima Getty Images

    Even if baseball is re-added to the Olympics, Fukushima might not be a logical choice to host games.

  7. England FA hopes to qualify soccer teams for Rio Olympics

    Mar 2, 2015, 4:59 PM EST

    Team GB Getty Images

    Team GB’s men and women were ousted in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals.

  8. Ronda Rousey should scare men’s fighters, Jay Glazer says (video)

    Mar 2, 2015, 2:28 PM EST

    Ronda Rousey Getty Images

    The Olympic judo bronze medalist is compared to a former dominant heavyweight boxer.

  9. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross confident after defeat in Brazil showdown

    Mar 2, 2015, 11:47 AM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Walsh Jennings also had breakfast with a beach legend in Rio de Janeiro.

  10. South Africa 2024 Olympic bid ‘unrealistic,’ official says

    Mar 2, 2015, 11:11 AM EST

    South Africa flag Getty Images

    IOC member and former South Africa Olympic Committee president previously said the nation was readying to bid.

  11. Brittany Bowe sweeps at World Sprint Championships (video)

    Mar 2, 2015, 10:21 AM EST

    AP AP

    Bowe skated with dominance not seen since 2003.

  12. Lindsey Vonn lost in the fog in Bansko super combined

    Mar 1, 2015, 8:31 AM EST

    AP AP

    Vonn will get another chance on Monday.

  13. Ronda Rousey defends UFC title in 14 seconds

    Mar 1, 2015, 12:05 AM EST

    Ronda Rousey AP

    Rousey is undefeated in 11 pro fights since winning Olympic judo bronze in 2008.

  14. Elana Meyers Taylor wins historic bobsled World Championship (video)

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:03 AM EST

    Elana Meyers Taylor Getty Images

    Meyers Taylor improved from silver medals at the 2013 Worlds and 2014 Olympics.

  15. Watch Rio Olympic Park transformation, timelapse videos

    Feb 27, 2015, 3:55 PM EST

    Rio Olympic Park

    Rio government organization published two videos looking at the construction of Olympic Park.

  16. Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali’s team may lose license

    Feb 27, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    AP AP

    Nibali might not be able to defend his Tour de France title as an Astana rider.