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Newly blonde Abbott impressive at 'Proud Nation'

Vows to come back strong next season

A platinum blonde Jeremy Abbott expressed excitement about next season.
A platinum blonde Jeremy Abbott expressed excitement about next season. (Marilou Vetter)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(04/11/2011) - Jeremy Abbott isn't on the U.S. world team slated to compete in Moscow this month, but he's keeping busy.

The two-time U.S. champion is taking full advantage of his time, keeping up his training while performing in benefit shows.

Last week alone the Detroit-based skater performed in a show for Japanese earthquake victims in California, grabbed a red-eye flight to New York to hit the ice for Figure Skating in Harlem's annual gala at Central Park's Wollman Rink and capped the trifecta with Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov's "Proud Nation 2011" show in Simsbury, Conn.

Abbott made a cosmetic change along the way, dying his light reddish-brown hair a near-platinum blonde.

"His new look was fun and bold," Gregory said. "We all had a great time playing with makeup for the show."

"It's just an experiment," he told fans in Simsbury. "I'll keep it for a while, see how it goes. Probably not long term."

The 25-year-old, who placed fourth at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships after falling on a triple Lutz in his free skate, ended his competitive season on a bright note, skating two solid programs at the 2011 ISU Four Continents Championships in Taipei and winning the bronze medal.

"I would have loved to have finished the year at worlds but I was happy with what I did at Four Continents," Abbott said. "I thought it was good redemption for me after the disappointing nationals. Now I'm getting down to work, planning for next season."

Next up: Yu-Na Kim's "All that Skate" in Seoul in May.

"I have a brand-new exhibition program to Adele's "Home Town Glory" I will do for Yu-Na's shows," he said. "My coach Yuka Sato, Massimo Scali, and myself worked on it in cooperation. It's a beautiful program, it's very difficult and I'm excited to put it out in Korea."

Icenetwork.com caught up with Abbott last week.

What's your take on the past season?

It was a really rough season for me all around with the skate issues and other problems here and there, but everything happens for a reason. I was done early this season, and now I can focus on getting my boots solved and settled, and I can give it everything I have next season and come back stronger than I have ever been. I'm really excited for next season and for the potential I have.

What can you do to prevent boot issues next season?

We've started the process already. I've been in close contact with Riedell [boot manufacturer] and just making sure that everything is done well. They're sending me a couple of pairs [of boots] and we're trying a couple of different things. We want to make sure everything is settled for the summer and next season, taking care of it now so I don't have to go through all of this next season.

What do you most hope to accomplish 2011-12?

A stronger start and to actually feel comfortable on the ice. Honestly there was not one point this season where I felt good on the ice, over my feet in my skates. So in training, and then in competition, I tried to do as much as I could. Considering how I felt and everything that happened, I think I had a successful season. I medaled at every international I competed in and I was that close [.19 points out of third place] to the world team. With all the problems, I can only think of the potential when my equipment is right and when everything is settled and good.

Do you think you will be getting new competitive programs?

We're starting to plan for next season, nothing concrete or solid yet. I've definitely decided as much as I love my long program [choreographed by David Wilson to the Life is Beautiful soundtrack] -- and I don't think it ever reached the potential it had -- I am definitely going to get a new one, just because this season was emotionally hard, and I want to put it behind me and start fresh with a whole new outlook.

You didn't try the quad toe this season, although you have done it successfully in the past.

It was hard because I didn't have the support, my boots would give out on me, it was hard to train jumps and train quads. Next year the quad will be there and will be solid. Everything will be good.