Jason Brown

On and off the ice, Jason Brown can put on a show

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U.S. men’s figure skater Jason Brown has become quite a popular fellow since his star turn at last month’s U.S. Championships in Boston, where he finished second to fellow Olympian Jeremy Abbott following his “Riverdance” free skate.

That particular routine has made Brown into a YouTube star going into Sochi, but the pride of Highland Park, Illinois was already known as a fan favorite within the world of figure skating thanks in part to his flair for showmanship.

It’s a trait that the 19-year-old Brown has apparently had for some time.

A special feature on Brown from NBCOlympics.com’s Rachel Lutz details how, after reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” for one of his high school classes, he promptly transformed himself into legendary silent film star Charlie Chaplin as part of a lesson that involved the students becoming famous 1920s personalities.

Just as he does on the ice, he went all in.

“Jason became Charlie Chaplin, right down to the way he moved,” his teacher, Jennifer Lucchese, told local news outlets. “His attention to detail was incredible. It set him apart from his peers in his willingness to take a risk and throw himself into it.”

Now, Brown is preparing to throw himself into the Olympics for the very first time alongside the 28-year-old veteran Abbott. And after nearly blowing the roof off of the TD Garden, he’ll be looking to be even better in Sochi.

“For not even one second did I think that [“Riverdance”] was the best performance I’ve ever done,” Brown said following the Nationals.

Who will represent U.S. Figure Skating in Olympic team event?

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

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