Winter Games Athletes
The first U.S. man to win four national titles since Todd Eldredge claimed his fourth in 2002, Abbott will get another crack at earning an Olympic medal before retiring at the end of this season. Abbott won his first gold at the U.S. championships in 2009, and has never placed lower than fourth at the event since making his senior nationals debut during the 2006-07 season. He headed to the 2010 Games with plenty of confidence after winning gold at the U.S. championships just a month before the Olympics, finishing well ahead of Evan Lysacek, but it was a different story in Vancouver. Abbott was in 15th place after a disastrous short program and finished a disappointing ninth, while Lysacek went on to win the gold medal. Abbott will head into Sochi with similar momentum after winning gold in January, but his trip to his second and final Olympics almost didn’t happen despite a nearly flawless short program. Abbott was nearly late to center ice to begin his free skate after skating over to his coach with a concern about the edge of his blades. As the clock ticked down with the audience beginning a countdown, Abbott rushed back to begin his program - narrowly avoiding disqualification. Abbott made it, though, and he’ll try to follow in Lysacek’s footsteps in Sochi and give the U.S. its first back-to-back men’s figure skating Olympic golds since Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano.