Out of his funk, Jason Brown moves forward with a big change

Out of his funk, Jason Brown moves forward with a big change

Even before he failed to make the 2018 Olympic team, Jason Brown sensed the time had come for him to make a significant change.

Part of such a change was bound to seem momentous, given that the 2014 Olympian had spent his entire 18-year figure skating career with the same coach, Kori Ade. Once Brown graduated high school, he followed Ade from the Chicago suburbs to Monument, Colorado.

"Kori is like a second mom to me," Brown said via telephone from Toronto. "That's what made it hard to take the next jump."

It was quite the leap.

Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, announced Tuesday he was moving to the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, where coach Brian Orser presides over a group of singles skaters that next season also will include: two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan; two-time world bronze medalist Boyang Jin of China; two-time world champion and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia; 2017 world bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman of Canada; 13-year-old phenom Stephen Gogolev of Canada; and, occasionally, two-time world champion Javier Fernández of Spain, torn between full competitive retirement and the idea of trying for a seventh straight European title.

Being on the ice with such skaters will be a tremendous change for Brown, who was by far the most accomplished skater at his rinks in Illinois and Colorado.

"I have never been long term in a place with a ton of high-level people, so I really have no idea what that environment will be like," Brown said. "I'm very internally driven, so it has never been a huge piece for me to be in a place like that for motivation.

"At the same time, I couldn't be more excited and honored to train alongside some of the greatest skaters in the world. Can I learn from them? I hope so. I'm turning a page, and the future awaits."

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No way to sugarcoat this: Nathan Chen has been awful in his first Olympics

No way to sugarcoat this:  Nathan Chen has been awful in his first Olympics

GANGNEUNG, South Korea - There is no way to sugarcoat this, to find a silver lining or a saving grace, or to think that the light at the end of the tunnel is anything but an oncoming train.

Nathan Chen has simply been awful in his first Olympics.

As poor as Chen was in the team event short program a week ago, he was significantly worse in the individual short program Friday.

"Honestly, it was bad," Chen said. "I made as many mistakes as I possibly could have."

The most gifted jumper in U.S. men's skating history did not have a clean jumping pass among the six he completed in the two short programs. The three in the individual short produced a fall, two step-out landings and failure to do a required combination.

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Hanyu's strong competitive spirit could hurt his chances to top Olympus

Hanyu's strong competitive spirit could hurt his chances to top Olympus

Yuzuru Hanyu has prided himself on trying to keep up with the recent quadruple jump outburst in men’s figure skating, an explosion in numbers and types of quads since 2015 for which the Japanese star credits China’s Jin Boyang as having been the spark.

When Hanyu won a second world title last year, he alluded to the quad exploits of Jin, Nathan Chen of the United States and Shoma Uno of Japan – all of whom have pushed the jump revolution - when he said, “I am trying to keep up with many of the strengths of the other skaters.”

The question now is whether pride literally came before the fall that has cast some doubt on Hanyu’s chances to win a second straight Olympic title – an achievement that, added to the rest of his career record, I feel would make him inarguably the greatest men’s skater in history.

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ISU proposes "radical change" to rebalance figure skating's artistry and athleticism

ISU proposes "radical change" to rebalance figure skating's artistry and athleticism

A top official at the International Skating Union said the organization is looking at "radical change" in figure skating in order to achieve a better balance between the athletic and artistic sides of the sport.

The change would involve substantially lowering the base values of quadruple jumps and, for pairs, quadruple throws. For three of the five quads being done in men's singles, the reduction would be more than 10 percent, according to proposed numbers obtained by icenetwork.

"This is the direction line I am working on with the intent to make a radical change for the future development of the sport, hoping to bring back the popularity that figure skating used to have in the past," Italy's Fabio Bianchetti, the chair of the ISU Single & Pair Skating Committee, wrote in an email.

Another change may include replacing the current short program and free skate with what would effectively be an athletic program and an artistic program. Each would award full medals in events like the Olympics and the world championships, and there also would be a full medal for the all-around winner.

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Worlds three-peat for U.S. men skaters? It doesn't figure

Worlds three-peat for U.S. men skaters?  It doesn't figure

After two busy weeks on the figure skating scene, including the U.S., Canadian and European Championships and the news of a season-ending injury for U.S. phenom Nathan Chen, let’s catch our breath for a look of what it all means to U.S. singles skaters as they look toward the 2016 World Championships.

Today, a look at the men’s situation.  Tomorrow, the women.

*The loss of Chen to a hip avulsion fracture that required surgery will have minimal impact on the United States’ slim-to-no chance of keeping its three men’s spots for the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships.

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