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

Jason Brown
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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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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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