Jeremy Abbott

Jeremy Abbott brings queen-sized blow-up mattress to Sochi

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SOCHI – Rest assured: Jeremy Abbott is sleeping well at night.

The American who had a dismal performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games said he’s brought his own mattress to the Sochi Games, righting something that went very wrong for him on his way to a ninth-place finish in Vancouver.

“I brought a queen-sized air mattress,” Abbott told after his practice Monday afternoon at the Iceberg Skating Palace. “I did not do well on the twin bed in Vancouver.”

“[The mattress] is really high; it’s a legitimate bed,” Abbott, 28, said. “Getting it here was a pain; it weighs 25 pounds. I literally packed a suitcase just for the bed, but it’s definitely worth it.”

MORE: Abbott’s early Olympic memories

Abbott has said in the past that he suffered for much of his career from not being able to sleep through the night, a struggle he said had mostly subsided in an October interview. Abbott said in Sochi that Vancouver was no different from aforementioned struggles.

“I toss and turn a lot. For the two and a half weeks I was in Vancouver I didn’t sleep one full night because I was always afraid that I was going to roll off the bed.”

Abbott rolled through his practice session Monday, landing his opening quad-triple combination once in his warm-up and again in his short-program run through. The veteran won the U.S. Championships last month with a record-setting short program, holding off a surging Jason Brown in the free skate.

“It was a good practice. I ran my short program for stamina and it went really well,” Abbott said. “The quad felt good.”

Abbott said the ice in Sochi had a lot of spring, something he liked.

After winning at Nationals in 2010, Abbott said he felt crushed by expectations leading into the Vancouver Games. This time around the Olympics feel shockingly “normal,” he said.

“I never in my life thought I would say this, but it feels all normal, all natural,” Abbott said, laughing. “It’s kind of bizarre to be at the Olympics and think, ‘Yeah, this is normal.'”

“I’m extremely comfortable here. I brought a lot of stuff from home to make sure that I had all of my creature comforts that I would have normally. I think I did it all the right way.”

Wagner, Asada, Hanyu headline NHK Trophy in Japan; Grand Prix Final berths on the line

Ashley Wagner
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Three-time U.S. national champion Ashley Wagner looks to qualify for her fourth consecutive Grand Prix Final at this weekend’s NHK Trophy in Nagano, Japan. A medal of any color should be good enough to get her to Barcelona, but she faces a tough field.

Japan’s Mao Asada returned to competition this season and is poised to qualify for the most elite competition since the Sochi Olympics (where she finished sixth) and 2014 World Championships (which she won). Finishing on the podium would earn a berth to the final for Asada. Also in the field are Americans Mirai Nagasu and Courtney Hicks, Japan’s Satoko Miyahara, and one of Russia’s darlings from last season, Anna Pogorilaya.

Olympic champion and last year’s Grand Prix Final winner Yuzuru Hanyu, surely to be the overwhelming crowd favorite in the men’s field, will look to improve his short program results from his other Grand Prix appearance. At Skate Canada, two of his three jumping passes recceived zero points. He rallied in the free skate, finishing second behind Canada’s Patrick Chan. Chan is essentially a lock for the final, while a top three finish would seal the deal for Hanyu.

MORE: Javier Fernandez qualifies for second straight home Grand Prix Final

Other men in the hunt for Grand Prix Final berths competing in Nagano include China’s Jin Boyang and Russia’s Maxim Kovtun, who also need podium finishes to lock up spots in Barcelona. Jin’s and Kovtun’s finishes will likely dictate whether or not American Max Aaron qualifies to the final. More on that process here. No U.S. man has qualified since Jeremy Abbott did it in 2011.

MORE: Jason Brown withdraws from NHK Trophy

Reigining U.S. pairs champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim can make the Grand Prix Final with a medal in Japan.

The U.S. is sending three ice dance couples to Japan, of which two have a shot at qualifying for Barcelona. Siblings and Sochi Olympians Maia and Alex Shibutani can finish in any 1-2 combination with Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue allowing for both duos to qualify for the final. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, U.S. ice dance champions, already qualified. will stream for subscribers live coverage of men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance short programs and free skates. NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.

Men’s short program — Friday, 2:10 a.m. ET (start order here)
Women’s short program — Friday, 5:05 a.m. ET (start order here)
Men’s free skate — Saturday, 2:30 a.m. ET
Women’s free skate — Saturday, 5:35 a.m. ET

Inside the #RoadtoRio photo shoots

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NBC Olympics
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Bringing together over 100 Summer Olympians and Olympic hopefuls with puppies, samba dancers and supermodels, NBC Olympics and the United States Olympic Committee partnered for an extensive five-day media summit in West Hollywood, Ca. The athletes took part in photo shoots, interviews and video segments all in preparation for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over the course of the summit, participants shared behind-the-scenes moments on social media using the #RoadtoRio hashtag. NBC Olympics also launched its official Snapchat account, with the username NBCOlympics. Here are some of the highlights:

Olympians fell in puppy love:


Then got a crash course in Brazil’s signature dance, the samba:


A photobooth with props let the athletes–and even Bob Costas–show off their silly sides:


Olympic fans like Alessandra Ambrosio and Flula dropped by:


In between shoots, athletes from different sports mingled:


The faux-Rio beach was the perfect set:


But these Olympic stars needed only a simple white backdrop to shine:

Wait who is the Olympian here! Linnéa stealing the show at the @nbcolympics #roadtorio

A photo posted by Alysia Montaño (@alysiamontano) on


Follow NBC Olympics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat (username NBCOlympics).


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