Nineteen-year-old figure skater Jason Brown triple-axled, arabesqued and bracket jumped his way into everyone’s hearts yesterday after the video of his Olympic-qualifying free skate routine, set to Bill Whelan's "Reel Around the Sun" from "Riverdance," went viral.
His performance at the U.S. National Championships, held last weekend in Boston, secured him one of two spots on the 2014 U.S. Men’s Figure Skating team. The Illinois native snagged the championship’s silver medal, though when you watch his routine you’ll be left wondering what Brown’s new Olympic teammate Jeremy Abbott had to do to win the gold.
Brown has serious charisma, energy and stage (rink?) presence, and when he breaks into the Irish dance-inspired portion of the routine, the crowd and the presenters go absolutely wild.
2013 was Brown’s first year competing at the senior level. He has been skating since he was three-and-a-half, with coach Kori Ade. In previous interviews, he’s given full credit for the "Riverdance" performance to his long-time choreographer Rohene Ward. As Brown told the charmingly titled figure skating blog Is That a Skate Guard in Your Pocket or are You Happy to See Me:
"Rohene and I spent about a week looking at different pieces for my senior debut long program and at the end of the week he looked at me with the widest, brightest eyes and said, ‘I know exactly what you are going to skate to. I've always wanted you to skate to it, but I've been waiting for the perfect time. That time is now!’ This program is by far the hardest, most exhausting free skate I have ever had, yet that is something I love most about the program. It is such a challenge, and constantly pushes me to my limits both physically and mentally. I absolutely love performing this free skate at events and I love when the audience claps along."
No doubt the Winter Olympics audience at Sochi will be clapping along too!