Aspen’s Abbott earns bronze
Aspen figure skater Jeremy Abbott, who now trains in Colorado Springs at the renowned World Arena, took the next step in his march to the 2001 U.S. Nationals by taking the bronze medal in regional competition last week in Dallas, Texas.
At age 15, Abbott was the youngest competitor in a field of 18 novice men from the nine-state southwestern region. Abbott skated a clean technical program including a double axel and a triple Salchow/double toe combination.
The more difficult long, or free skate, program included a double axel/double toe loop combination, double Lutz/double loop combination and a triple Salchow/double toe loop combination, along with four other jumps.
Abbott missed one double axel and one double Salchow, but recovered to complete all other jumps and all jumps in combination. Coupled with a strong presentation mark, Abbott held onto third place overall, earning himself a berth at the 2001 Midwestern Sectional Championships. Victory there would send him to national competition, scheduled for January in Boston, Mass.
This is Abbott’s first season as a novice men’s competitor. Last season at the intermediate level, Abbott recorded a strong finish at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Buffalo, N.Y. His sixth-place national finish made him an alternate for the North American Challenge Series, conducted between teams from the U.S. and Canada.
In June, Abbott was chosen to compete in Montreal, Canada, as part of Team USA. There, he recorded a fifth-place finish in his first-ever novice level competition.
Novice competition is the first level eligible for the U.S. Nationals. Each year, Nationals are the proving ground for elite skaters through the senior level. Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes, Todd Eldrich and Michael Weiss will all compete in Boston at the senior level this January as they vie for a spot on the U.S. World Team.
Novice and junior level skaters are competing for spots on the Junior Grand Prix or North American Challenge Series, as well as a position on the Team USA “envelopes.” Those envelope assignments determine national and international competition assignments for the following year.
Abbott, an associate member of the Aspen Skating Club, began skating at the age of 2. At age 4, he joined the Aspen Skating Club program, where he remained until 1998, when he relocated to Colorado Springs to train with the world-renowned Broadmoor Skating Club and international coach Tom Zakrajsek.
Abbott returns to Aspen frequently to work with other Aspen Skating Club members and train with his longtime coach, Peggy Behr, who still acts as one of his choreographers.
Last week, Abbott was a featured skater in the Broadmoor Skating Club’s exhibition for Skate America. He will also be featured with the Colorado Springs Symphony in Pops on Ice at the World Arena on Dec. 16.
Abbott plans to return to Aspen to skate in the club’s annual spring show scheduled for March, and possibly in an exhibition sometime this winter.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.