One of the reasons Monument-based Jason Brown has become one of the world's elite figure skaters is he sees everything, including his first significant injury, as an opportunity to learn.
The 2015 national men's champion found out more about his sport and himself when a back strain kept him out for most of last season, preventing him from defending his national title.
"I look at it as more experience," he said while preparing for this weekend's Skate America event in Chicago. "Although I did not compete, it was another type of experience. What is it like to miss part of a season and come from behind (in training) against others? (Recovering gives) you the confidence that you can do it."
Now healthy and fresh off a gold in Salt Lake City over Japanese rival Takahito Mura and 2016 U.S. champ Adam Rippon and a season-opening silver in Italy's Lombardi Trophy competition, Brown, 21, benefited from spending several weeks with Hall of Fame skating coach Frank Carroll this summer.
In summers past, Brown and coach Kori Ade would leave town for a few weeks to shake things up. But Ade's growing club in Monument and more demands on Brown kept the two from taking off recently.
"When this summer rolled around, I needed some sort of change," Brown said. "Kori trusts Frank and he was kind enough to open up his home and work with me this summer. I am so grateful for that. It was a different kind of eye to watch me.
"He is so incredible with the process of maturing the skater. His eye was to make me a more class(ical) skater and to hit every line, and execute every jump."
Part of that maturation is adding quadruple moves into his routines. But Brown knows not to add more complicated moves just for the sake of it.
"The main thing I have learned over past 15 years in this sport is you do what you can do," he said. "You go out there and do the best that you can. You cannot push yourself past what you are physically able to do. We are all trying to be the best version of ourselves we can be no matter what someone else may be doing."
That includes scrapping his planned short program and trimming his exhibition program to Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall" to fill that role. His former short program and his long program were both slower and the judges deemed the two far too similar.
The slower routines were easier on Brown's recovering back, which first started bothering him a year ago this September, than the quick starts and turns now. His familiarity with the exhibition program made for a quick transition.
Fully recovered, Brown is back competing at an elite level going into this weekend with a crowd of 50 family members, friends and supporters expected for his hometown event.
"Look out Chicago, the Browns are coming and they are ready to cheer," he said.