Jason Brown enters ‘growth’ year hoping to join, beat top skaters

Jason Brown
AP
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Jason Brown deemed last season a success, becoming the youngest U.S. men’s champion since 2004 and finishing fourth at the World Championships.

“Last year, I wanted to prove myself, and I wanted to show that it wasn’t a fluke,” Brown said Thursday. “This year is all about growth.”

Brown, 20, wants to score more points, yes, but also add intangibles this year.

He’s a podium contender at Skate America next week (NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, Oct. 24-25), perhaps even for the top step, since the field does not include Worlds gold and silver medalists Javier Fernandez and Yuzuru Hanyu.

“I try to look more mature and more commanding,” said Brown, who shot to fame in the 2013-14 season, performing a “Riverdance” program with a ponytail, becoming the youngest U.S. Olympic men’s singles figure skater since 1976 and placing ninth in Sochi. “A lot of maturity comes from the way you hold yourself on the ice.”

Brown said he’s talked about “reinventing” with Vincent Restencourt, a coach who works with him specifically on jumps — including quadruple jumps. Brown stepped out of an under-rotated quadruple toe loop en route to winning a small event in Slovakia two weeks ago.

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Brown’s quad was a constant discussion topic last season.

He won the U.S. Championships without attempting a four-revolution jump in January, added a quad toe loop for the Four Continents Championships short program in February, two-footed the landing and did not attempt a quad at Worlds in March, unlike the three podium finishers.

Brown’s 2014-15 season was arguably the best by an American man since Evan Lysacek won the 2010 Olympics, but it was close to being a lot better.

In addition to just missing the Worlds podium, Brown followed up his Skate America runner-up finish with a fifth at the Rostelecom Cup, which cost him a spot in the prestigious six-man Grand Prix Final. Brown ended up the first alternate.

At Skate America, Brown will try to become the first U.S. man to win a Grand Prix Series event since 2011. His biggest competition are Olympic and Worlds bronze medalist Denis Ten and Japan’s new phenomShoma Uno.

It’s Brown’s chance for a breakthrough victory against some of the world’s elite.

“I definitely feel like I’m one of them, and I want to be one of them, and I want to beat some of them,” he said.

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