Highland Park's Brown gets bronze at junior world skate

ChinaEvan Lysacek

Nearly everything Jason Brown worked on for this season came together Saturday in his final performance, the free skate at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Minsk, Belarus.

Component scores?  His were the best of the 24 men in the final, and he was the only one to average seven points or more (out of 10) on all five components.

Landing the hardest jumps in the second half of the program, where they get a 10 percent bonus?  Six of Brown's seven triple jumps -- all successful -- came in the second half.

Spn quality?  Two of his three spins got the maximum difficulty level (4); the third got a 3; and his total scores on the spins were easily the best in the field.

The result?  Brown moved up from fourth after the short program to win the bronze medal with 214.90 points. Yan Han of China won with a world junior meet record of 222.45, followed by Joshua Farris of the United States with 221.97. 

The old mark was 222 by Adam Rippon of the United States in 2009.

It was the first time two U.S. men had won medals at junior worlds since Evan Lysacek and Jordan Brauninger finished 2-3 in 2004.  It was China's first world junior singles title.

And had Brown accomplished his other objective for the season, a triple axel jump, he could have won this event, in which he finished seventh last year.

"It has been an amazing season," Brown said by telephone.  "I'm unbelievably pleased."

(For video of Brown's free skate, click here.)

The 17-year-old from Highland Park had won the Junior Grand Prix Final in December and finished ninth in the senior event at the U.S. Championships in January.

Yan, who turns 16 Tuesday, opened his free skate with a successful quadruple toe loop, making him the only skater to land a quad in the event.  He also scored seven points more for a triple axel than Brown did with his opening double axel.

Brown and his coach, Kori Ade, had vowed he would do a triple axel this season.  They dropped that plan because he was too inconsistent on the jump to risk it.

That strategy worked on the junior level, but it will be nearly impossible for Brown to contend for national and international senior medals without the triple axel, no matter how good his component scores, spins and other jumps.

"We've been working so hard on the components, especially without having as much technical difficulty in the program," Brown said.  "I really believe I made a lot of improvement this season."

Brown should get one senior Grand Prix assignment next season.  Whether he skates again at junior worlds will depend on how he does at the 2013 U.S. Championships.

"It's nice to know I have two more years (of junior eligibiity) to keep gaining world rankings," he said.  "I can't wait to see what happens at the beginning of next season."

With the next Olympics just two years away, Brown would seem to have little chance of making that team, whether it includes two or three U.S. men.

"It (2014) is definitely a goal, and I don't want to overlook the possibility," he said.  "It definitely depends on what happens when I get the triple axel and see how that affects my scoring.

"I don't want to think, `Oh, if I have the triple axel, this is what could happen.'  I want to see where I stand with the other U.S. guys and then see how realistic (2014) could be.  I know there is no possibility without the triple axel."

Brown's hardest jump now, the triple lutz, has a base value 2.5 points lower than the triple axel.  He did two lutzes (one in a triple-triple combination) so well Saturday they received excellent grades.

The first lutz, done alone, was the opening jump of his program.

"I was kind of nervous," Brown said.  "You never know what is going to happen on your first jump."

This is what happened: five of the nine judges gave it the maximum positive grade of three, and the four others gave it a two.

It was a great start to the fine finish for his season.

 

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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