Skater Abbott spins into U.S. Championships |

Skater Abbott spins into U.S. Championships

Aspen Times Staff

Former Aspen skater Jeremy Abbott landed two triple axels and a total of six triple jumps in his freeskate program to clinch the Midwestern Sectional Junior Men’s Championships last week in Fargo, N.D.

Coupled with his win at a regional competition in Wichita, Kan., a month earlier, Abbott now enters the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Portland, Ore., as a favorite in January.

Against what legendary coach Kathy Casey called “one of the strongest fields of junior men in years,” Abbott skated a clean technical short program with triple axel and double toe, triple loop and double axel to score first-place ordinals from all judges under the present 6.0 scoring system. In the long or freeskate, Abbott landed two triple Salchows ” one in combination ” triple axel, triple flip, triple loop and triple toe to, again, take the first-place spot.

“I’m healed from my fractured back [in 2003],” said the 19-year-old Abbott. “I’m well-trained and I’m ready for Portland.”

“I’ve been to sectional competition six times and won a silver and a bronze, but this is my first gold medal. There’s room for improvement before Portland, but my coach, Tom Zakrajsek, has a training plan that will test my focus and skills. … This will be my third nationals and I’m planning on having the third time be the charm.”

Abbott was born and raised in Aspen, leaving after eighth grade to train in Colorado Springs with the Broadmoor Skating Club. He graduated from high school last May and has deferred from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs until mid-January, choosing instead to focus on a shot at the Junior Men’s Championship title.

Abbott returns to Aspen several times a year to work with his former coach, Peggy Behr, who began coaching Abbott at age 7. Abbott and Behr remain great friends and collaborators on music and choreography. Abbott still calls Behr after every major competition to tell her how he did.

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