Jan 12, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT
The U.S. will send something old and something new in men’s figure skating to the Sochi Olympics.
U.S. Figure Skating finalized its 15-skater roster by naming Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown to the Olympic Team on Sunday night, a couple of hours after they went one-two at the U.S. Championships in Boston.
Abbott, 28, is the oldest male singles figure skater to make the U.S. Olympic Team since Todd Eldredge in 2002. He has never won an Olympic or World Championships medal, but Abbott now has as many U.S. titles as Olympic champions Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano and twice as many as Evan Lysacek.
“Four-time national champion is just crazy,” Abbott told reporters Sunday. “I’m just a small-town boy. I never thought I’d be here.”
Abbott infamously imploded at the 2010 Olympics, finishing ninth after beating Lysacek at the U.S. Championships a month earlier.
Brown, 19, is the first teenage male singles skater to make the U.S. Olympic Team since 1976. The ponytailed Riverdancer is in his first season as a senior-level skater after taking bronze and silver at the last two World Junior Championships.
Together, Abbott and Brown face a steep hill toward a medal in Sochi. The gold- and silver-medal favorites, in some order, are three-time reigning world champion Canadian Patrick Chan and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who beat Chan at the Grand Prix Final in December.
The door for bronze has opened this season with the struggles and injuries to Spain’s Javier Fernandez and Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten. It’s also hard to gauge the ceilings of Russian three-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko, if he’s selected, and Japan’s second- and third-best skaters, Tatsuki Machida and Daisuke Takahashi.
U.S. men’s skating has been on the decline since Lysacek’s gold in 2010. It hasn’t qualified to send more than two skaters to either of the last two World Championships nor for these Olympics.
The U.S. has placed a men’s singles skater sixth or higher at every Olympics since 1936. That streak is in jeopardy.
Here is the full U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team:
Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir
Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay
Madison Chock/Evan Bates
Meryl Davis/Charlie White
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani
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Work expected to finish in the first half of 2016.
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