Ice Network

Brown overcomes adversity to top men's podium

Mura moves up one spot to earn silver; 'Sloppy' Rippon takes bronze
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Jason Brown is still looking for that elusive first quad in competition, but Friday night he showed that the rest of his skating is as good as it's ever been. The 2015 U.S. champion landed seven triples (four in combination) in his free skate on his way to racking up 170.86 points in the segment, and his 254.04-point total was enough to move him up to first place. -Melissa Majchrzak

SALT LAKE CITY - Jason Brown wants to tell a story when he skates as much as he wants to win a medal.

So when he falls, as he did in the free skate of the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic on Friday night, he simply sees it as a little adversity added to the tale.

"When I do my programs, I try to take the audience and the judges on this journey, and really tell a story," Brown said after winning the men's competition with a 170.86-point free skate and a combined score of 254.04. "And whether there are a few bumps in the road during that journey is what it is."

A fall, even on a quad, is never the end.

"You know, the minute I fall, the story continues," he said. "It doesn't end there. I made sure to just bring it in and continue on as if nothing happened."

Brown entered Friday's free skate at the Salt Lake Sports Complex in third place. He overtook both Japan's Takahito Mura, who earned 169.65 points Friday for a combined score of 252.20, and U.S. teammate Adam Rippon, who scored 160.38 in the free skate and 248.24 overall.

Mura led after the short program, while Rippon was second. Both men had mistakes of their own to overcome, including several jumps on which they were forced to put a hand on the ice to keep from falling.

"I'm obviously not happy with the way I skated today," Rippon said. "It was really sloppy. That's not the way I train. But it's the name of the game sometimes. I'm focused on what I need to do the rest of the year. And I fought through it all."

Mura started strong but then had some significant struggles.

"(It was the) first time this season, so I was nervous," Mura said. "I wanted to use this to get (ready) for the Grand Prix Series."

He said the high altitude helped him with his conditioning, and the high level of competition helped him with his confidence.

"I changed (my) jumps today," he said. "I feel good."

Brown said his perspective is completely different after a season away from the ice.

"My goal here was really to get more experience," he said. "I feel so lucky because I got to do back-to-back events." (He competed last weekend in Italy and took second.)

"My biggest goal for this season," he said, "I'm really taking my health super serious, being so grateful to wake up healthy. …So from here, it's every event, coming in healthy, and then the biggest goal here was integrating the quad, getting the most practice on it that I can before the Grand Prix Series starts and making it a part of the program."

Brown landed the quad in warmups but fell on it in competition.

"To me, it is just as rewarding to get the quad in the six-minute warmup," he said, laughing. "I'm taking it and running with it."

Bouncing back from a disappointing short program, American Ross Miner finished sixth after earning 143.11 points in the free skate and 214.48 overall.

"I'm better than what I showed in the short program," Miner said. "This started off well, and I gave it a good fight at the beginning, but I got a little tired at the end. It's just early in the season."

Sean Rabbitt finished seventh, with a free skate score of 137.21 and an overall mark of 209.66. He said his goal this week was just to prove he belonged in the field.

"It's a really strong field, so I just really wanted to get a good score, have a strong skate and just show that I can skate with these guys, be just as good as them," said Rabbitt, who was competing in just his third international event. "I feel like I accomplished this tonight."