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Jason Brown didn’t think he’d make PyeongChang without a quad, sees season as stepping stone

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Jason Brown spoke with NBCSports.com/figure-skating in Detroit after winning bronze at the 2019 U.S. Championships about his goals for the rest of the season, the brand-new World Team jacket he donned, and what bugs the Sochi Olympian the most about not ever landing a clean quadruple jump in competition.

How do you feel about the championships overall?

I feel great. It was a big stepping stone. I’ve just been adapting and changing so much this season that each step of the way I’ve learned something and been able to take something new from each experience. I’m super proud of the growth that I’ve made this season coming from my first event at Autumn Classic to now, I’m just a completely different skater. I’m so proud of that. I’m just looking forward to continuing that through the rest of the season.

Nice new World Team jacket. Did you expect to be on the world team?

It wasn’t even a goal as far as overall goals. Obviously, you don’t ever not want to be on the world team! I was so focused on the day to day process that we were going through and all the changes. Especially with such a rough start, at the beginning of the year, I really didn’t have expectations as much as I wanted to stay committed to the changing process.

So no, but that being said, I came into this event and I looked at Tracy [Wilson, his coach along with Brian Orser] and I was like, ‘All I wanna do is be at more events so I can have more opportunities to travel with you guys to keep learning.’

The only way to get experience with competition with new coaches are at competition with new coaches! I was like, ‘I just wanna travel with you and Brian more and more!’ When I found out I get two more events with them, I was like, ‘yes!’ That makes me even more excited than the fact that it’s Worlds. I’m so excited that it’s Worlds and it’s in Japan. But I’m just excited that I get another opportunity to keep putting all these changes to the test.

Was another goal you had this season to hold onto your artistic qualities?

Absolutely. I think one of the things that drew me to Tracy and Brian was the fact that they didn’t just look at me as a technical project. They weren’t just like, ‘Okay, we need to work on your jumps.’ Which obviously, we’re working a ton on. But they looked at it as like, ‘We want to continue growing you as an artist on the ice. And keep working on the in-between skating and taking this new judging system and really maximizing these plus-fives.’ Threes aren’t good enough! I want all fours and fives – and even then, I want all fives. They’re really pushing me to be the absolute best version of myself on every single element I’m doing. They’re really looking at quality and that goes down to the skating skills. I love that they pay so much attention to that.

Have you thought about differences training at altitude [in Colorado Springs] compared to now, training in Toronto?

I have to say I didn’t really feel it. I went to Champs Camp this year and it was my first time doing it, the team camp, not having lived in Colorado.

I couldn’t even barely get through the programs. But I know it’s in August, so it is very early on, but that was very shocking to me. Normally, what I can do at home, I can do there.

As the season’s gone on I haven’t really noticed the difference. When I was training in Colorado, the biggest difference was that I was never concerned about the endurance whenever I went somewhere else. I was always like, there are other things to worry about, and endurance wasn’t a thing.

Now, not being at altitude, I’m thinking about, ‘Oh now the endurance. What’s it gonna be like?’ Every time I find out I’m competing at altitude, I’m like, ‘Aah… see how it goes.’ But I’m trained. They’ve trained me well.

Do you get sick of defending quad-less programs? Annoyed?

Unfortunately… not even unfortunately, because I think it’s also made me the skater that I am today. Throughout most of my career I’ve always been a step behind in jumps. I’ve been asked and asked and asked and asked.

I do have to say the only times that it gets frustrating is when it affects me. When I’ve allowed it to make me feel less of a competitor and less of a skater, feel like I don’t deserve spots because I don’t have the technical difficulty. That’s not other people putting on me, I think it just… you hear it.

Even if I give some excitement about [the quad], ‘oh it’s going well,’ they look at me and they’re like ‘mmm, are you sure?’ It makes you question it.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of that got to me last season. I really truly believed in my heart that there wasn’t a spot for me on the Olympic team unless I could land a quad in competition. That’s the only time where I think it affects me negatively.

So no, I don’t mind at all. But if I start to let it affect me, which I did unfortunately last season, then it gets overwhelming. If I can stay strong… it’s your job as journalists! I don’t look at it any other way than like… if you didn’t ask me about it, that’s part of the sport. It’s part of the job.

MORE: Costume drama: Jason Brown’s apparel odyssey

As a reminder, you can watch the world championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Shelby Houlihan shatters American 5000m record

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Shelby Houlihan chopped 10.52 seconds off her own American 5000m record, clocking 14:23.92 at a Bowerman Track Club intrasquad meet in Portland, Ore., on Friday night.

Houlihan, who was 11th in the Rio Olympic 5000m, has in this Olympic cycle improved to become one of the greatest female distance runners in U.S. history.

She first broke Shannon Rowbury‘s American record in the 5000m by 4.47 seconds in 2018. In 2019, she broke Rowbury’s American record in the 1500m by 1.3 seconds in finishing fourth at the world championships in 3:54.99.

On Friday, Houlihan and second-place Karissa Schweizer both went under the American record. Schweizer, 24 and three years younger than Houlihan, clocked 14:26.34, staying with Houlihan until the winner’s 61-second final lap.

“I knew Karissa was going to try to come up on me and take the lead. She does that every time,” Houlihan told USATF.tv. “I had decided I was not going to let that happen.”

Houlihan improved from 41st to 12th on the world’s all-time 5000m list, 12.77 seconds behind Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba‘s world record.

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Can T.J. Oshie, other established Olympic hockey stars hold on for 2022?

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T.J. Oshie will be 35 years old during the next Winter Olympics. Jonathan Quick will be 36. Now that the NHL is one key step closer to returning to the Winter Games, the question surfaces: which 2014 Olympians will have a difficult time returning to rosters in 2022?

Oshie was the last of the 14 forwards chosen for the U.S. Olympic team for Sochi, beating out Bobby Ryan and Brandon Saad, in part for his shootout prowess.

In group play against Russia, Oshie was memorably tapped by U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma six times in a shootout, including all five in the sudden-death rounds. Oshie beat Sergei Bobrovsky four times, including the game winner.

“After I went out for my third attempt, I figured I was going to keep going,” Oshie said, according to USA Hockey. “Each time I would look up to see what [Bylsma] had to say, and he would just give me a nod every time. I kind of started laughing toward shot five and six because it was getting kind of ridiculous.”

Oshie became known as “T.J. Sochi” on social media. President Barack Obama congratulated him on Twitter. The U.S. eventually lost to Canada in the semifinals and Finland in the bronze-medal game.

When the NHL chose not to send its players to the PyeongChang Winter Games, it may have spelled the end of Oshie’s Olympic career.

Consider that the oldest forward on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team was 29, six years younger than Oshie will be come 2022. A recent Olympic roster prediction from The Hockey Writers put Oshie in the “Just Missed Out” list.

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire has Oshie among the finalists for the last forward spots in his early U.S. roster prediction.

“I wouldn’t discount T.J. Oshie because shootout is still part of it,” McGuire said. “He still has his shootout moves, even though he’s not getting any younger.”

Quick, the unused third goalie in 2010, played 305 out of 365 minutes in net for the U.S. in Sochi. He was coming off a Stanley Cup in 2012 and en route to another one in 2014.

Since, he was sidelined by a knee injury that required surgery. He remains the Los Angeles Kings’ No. 1 goalie, which almost automatically puts an American in the Olympic roster discussion these days.

“Somebody like Jonathan definitely merits consideration just because of his achievement level over time, but I think he’d be the first person to tell you injuries have definitely affected him,” McGuire said of Quick, looking to become the second-oldest U.S. goalie to play in the Olympics after Tom Barrasso in 2002. “It’s not going to be easy for him.”

The U.S. could bypass Quick for three Olympic rookies in 2022. Connor Hellebuyck, John Gibson and Ben Bishop have superior save percentages and goals-against averages and more games played than Quick since the start of the 2018-19 season.

A wild card is Spencer Knight, the 19-year-old No. 1 from the world junior championships who last year became the highest-drafted goalie since 2010 (No. 13 to the Florida Panthers). Knight would break defenseman Bryan Berard‘s record as the youngest U.S. Olympic hockey player in the NHL era.

The Canadian roster has traditionally been deeper than the U.S. The talent is overwhelming at center, led by Sidney CrosbyConnor McDavidPatrice Bergeron and Nathan MacKinnon. The Canadians must get creative if the likes of veterans Jonathan Toews and John Tavares will join them in Beijing.

Toews, then 21, was the best forward at the 2010 Vancouver Games and Canada’s only one on the all-tournament team. While Toews’ last NHL All-Star selection was in 2017, his last two seasons have been his best in terms of points per game since 2011.

“The one thing that Canada is very good at, they do it extremely well, they select players that fit roles,” McGuire said, noting Mike Richards shifting to the wing during the 2010 Olympics. “When you look at the overwhelming depth that Canada has, that’s going to be the thing that’s going that’s going to be very interesting to watch to see how it plays out at center.”

MORE: NHL players vote on world’s best female hockey player

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