Jason the dream: Brown navigates road to SochiColorado Springs-based skater writes about preparing for Olympic season
Jason Brown, a two-time medalist at the world junior championships, will make his senior international debut this fall, and later will attempt to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. He's keeping a season-long blog for icenetwork.com.
After my last event of the season, I usually take some time off the ice to rest and recuperate, as do most skaters. Generally, I spend my time furiously trying to catch up on homework that I missed while I was away, but this year was different. I worked with my school throughout the past four years to accumulate enough credits to graduate a semester early, so when I came back from the 2013 World Junior Championships, instead of scrambling to get work done, I had time to rest and begin packing up my room for my big move to Colorado.
On March 19, I packed up the car and began my trip west with my mom. The time flew by. The entire car ride, my mom and I talked about almost everything, laughing and singing the whole way to Colorado Springs. My mom kept comparing the trip to the themes of American literature. She said, "It was the combination of the adventurous journey out west mixed with the quintessential coming-of-age story. I would return home and experience the separation from my child, and Jason would begin a new phase of independence."
I moved in with Karina Manta (a novice ice dancer) and Britney Simpson (the U.S. junior pairs champion with Matthew Blackmer), and I could not be happier -- I love them so much! They are the greatest roommates.
I was back on the ice for spring training the following day ... my break was over.
I am so fortunate that my coach, Kori Ade, and my choreographer, Rohene Ward, moved out to Colorado with me. They've been so supportive during this transition. Still, there are so many new and exciting changes. I am training at a new rink with new people, getting used to the high altitude, and I will be competing as a senior internationally. I know this will be a year of growth and learning, challenges and changes, determination and perseverance, but I am ready for it all and ready to accept the risks and rewards that will come with it.
Spring training is the time where my coaches and I pick out new music, get new skates, choreograph my new programs, get new costumes, and just get back into the swing of training again. Starting from day one in high altitude was anything but easy!
The spring decisions started with picking out new music. The process generally goes like this: Kori and Rohene find pieces they think would be great, and then I either approve or strongly decline (haha), and then Rohene starts choreographing. This year, we all agreed to keep my short program from last year and revamp it, while finding new music for my free.
One afternoon, while playing around with different pieces of music for my free, Rohene looked at me with the most excited eyes and knew exactly what he wanted me to skate to. Both Kori and I weren't sold when he told us, but he took that as a challenge, fully believing that we would love it. He did not disappoint: Riverdance it is! Both Kori and I are now absolutely in love with the music, and with the finished program. I can barely breathe, and am not exactly able to make it through the entire program yet, but it truly feels like the perfect program to make my mark on the senior international scene and to compete at nationals in the Olympic year. :)
At the end of May, I went back home to walk with my class for graduation. It's hard to believe that I'm done with this chapter of my life and, to be honest, I'm pretty scared. People sometimes ask me how I was able to balance both high school and skating, and I have to say, if you have supportive and understanding teachers, then it is manageable.
It's not easy, however. There are late nights. There are times when you're trying to get over jet lag while catching up on missed work, while keeping up with daily work, while training for the next event ... but it was all worth it! It was hard for me to walk across that stage and get my diploma knowing it would all be over in one handshake and a diploma pass; I didn't feel ready to leave. I loved high school and was not ready for it to be over, but as I flew back to Colorado, to my new home away from home, my fears disappeared and I was excited to start this next chapter of my life.
GRAND PRIX ASSIGNMENTS ANNOUNCED
Since making my decision to move up to senior internationally, I've been counting down the days until I would find out my assignment. The Grand Prix assignments for the 2013-14 season were announced in the middle of the night on June 3. I found out around 4:30 a.m. when I woke up in the middle of the night, probably due to my excitement. I saw that Kori had texted me at 2:23 a.m. telling me that I had been assigned to Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris! I literally jumped out of bed freaking out. I could not believe it. I have dreamed about getting a senior Grand Prix since I was a juvenile, and to have gotten to a place in my career where my name was on the roster for one of the events was amazing.
After finding out, I called my mom to tell her the great news. Hearing her excited, loving and proud voice on the other line will be a moment I will always cherish. My dad was in Korea at the time, so I had to text him the news. I can't fully express how honored I am to be invited to compete alongside some of the biggest names in figure skating. I am still in shock by it all; the reality that I'm a senior international men's competitor hasn't completely sunk in, but it's starting to.
SUMMER TRAINING BEGINS
I've been in the full swing of summer training for the past week and, boy, am I sore! From power classes to workout sessions to on-ice lessons and hours of practicing, the first week has been a huge success. I'm training up in Monument, Colo., and I couldn't be any more pleased with the way my schedule is working out. My legs could be happier, but they will get used to it.
I hope you all have had a great start to your summers. If you have any questions that you would like me to answer in future blogs, please don't hesitate to let me know.
Also, I JUST GOT A TWITTER ACCOUNT! Please follow me @jasonbskates. I'm extremely new to Twitter, so I'm sorry if I'm not the best tweeter. I'll try to do my best!