BEIJING — This decision did not have any medal implications for Jason Brown and his coaches. The 27 year-old American wasn’t able to skate his best, and he didn’t appear to be heading for the podium. He had to balance these options and navigate the risk-reward equation that is so prevalent in this sport because he was awaiting a moment that he wanted to experience at the Olympics.
Brown is able to perform a quadruple leap but not with the consistency of the top-skating skaters. Before entering the men’s individual competition, he practiced quad Salchow. At the U.S. Nationals last month, he attempted the same jump and fell. After he had finished sixth in the free skate, he stated that he was emotional and wanted to do it again. He knew that the decision had to be objective. The number of times he missed the jump in comparison to those he hit recently made it clear that he would perform a quad-less program and use a triple Axel for his hardest jump.
American star Nathan Chen , gold medalist, landed five quads on his free skate. Yuma Kagiyama, second from Japan, tried four. Shoma Uno, bronze medalist, attempted five. Yuzuru Hanyu (the Japanese figure skating legend) fell to fourth after two days’ worth of stumbles. She attempted a quadruple axel, a leap never seen at the Olympics.
Brown had his moment, but not because of a jump that has plagued him throughout his career, but from the summation of two personal-best performances which landed him in sixth. He got a 97.24 score for his “Sinnerman”, short program, and then a score of 184.00 with his free skate. He was one of few top skaters to finish the competition without any major mistakes.
Brown was ninth at the 2014 Olympic Games. Brown placed ninth in his previous Olympic appearance in 2014. He made it to the Games and he did well in his short program. He relied on his artistic ability to keep up with those who had more difficult jumps. After the first day of competition, he had the sixth-best score. He was therefore part of the last flight with those who were at the top of standings when he returned for the free skate.
Brown stated that it took eight years to reach this point, and that he believed in himself that he deserved to be there. He also said that others had told him that he wasn’t “keeping up with the sport” or that he hadn’t made as much progress as his peers. “But I felt that every time I went to the rink, my skills were improving and I was always getting better.
In the years preceding these Games, Brown revealed that quad Salchow. He won it at last season’s Grand Prix de France. However, he recently stated that it was best for him to use his strengths which have always been his emotional choreography as well as his performance quality. Tracy Wilson, Brown’s coach, believes that elite skaters who have Brown’s skill set are good for the sport.
Wilson stated, “We need the amazing jumpers and the fabulous artists.” We need to fight. This is the conversation that makes it exciting.
Chen , with all of his quads, and a modern “Rocketman”, free skate , that allowed him to let go towards the end, was still the main attraction — unaffected even by Japanese competitors who had challenging programs but made mistakes. Brown finished 12 points short of Chen’s medal position, more than 50 points behind Chen. He’s attacking. He is Nathan Chen. There are no words.”
Brown said that he does not know where he is going next or if there will be another chapter in his skating career. It would have been too much for him to deal with mentally if he had entered these Games under the stress of knowing that it was his last event. He said that he will soon sit down with his coaches and plan for the future.
After his free skate, he stated that the plan had been in place for the past four years since he arrived in Canada following the 2018 disappointment. Brown had never been expected to win a medal so he was happy with his sixth-place finish.
Brown stated, “For me it’s as good and precious as gold.” That’s something I am proud of. I would be amazed if someone told me that I could reach the top six at the Games. Deal.’ “