February 4, 2014 Updated: February 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm
Maybe bad dreams are good luck for Jeremy Abbott.
As he prepared for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Abbott endured frightening dreams. No, he didn't see demons lurking in the shadows or himself sitting on a plane tumbling from the sky.
He saw himself skating, to borrow his words, "a disaster of a performance" in the short program.
"Every time I was in seventh place," he said.
That's not how the short program turned out. That's not anywhere close to how it turned out.
Abbott delivered one of the most impressive, both athletically and artistically, skating performances in American history at Boston's TD Garden on Jan. 10. Judges rewarded him with a jaw-dropping 99.86 score. Abbott heard voices in the crowd, which was roaring with admiration, dispute the score.
"I heard people behind me shouting 100, 100," Abbott said with a sly smile. "But 99.86 is pretty darn close."
The performance revealed Abbott as a strong candidate for a skating medal in Sochi. After finishing ninth at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Abbott has a chance to stand on the podium in Russia.
"I believed in what we've done," Abbott said of his training methods, "and it paid off."
Abbott spent a decade in Colorado Springs, where he trained with the Broadmoor Skating Club and graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School. He departed in May 2009 to compete for the Detroit Skating Club.
Departing Colorado Springs, and his native Colorado, was difficult for Abbott. In August he said he misses the sunshine and the mountains and his family.
His mother, Allison Scott, said the split with the Broadmoor Skating Club was inevitable.
"It was hard for him to leave, but it was something he felt he needed to take his training to the next level," she said.
Departing for Detroit, Scott said, allowed her son to work with a coach, Yuka Sato, who is "more aligned with his personality."
Abbott is 28, an elderly man by the standards of competitive skating. But he used his experience to his advantage at Boston. While other skaters wilted under the pressure, he thrived.
"There were some very wonderful skaters who lost track of why they were there," Scott said.
"People got in the future. They didn't stay in the present and some really great skaters lost track of why they were here."
As Abbott prepared for Boston, those scary dreams invaded his sleep every night.
He saw himself finishing his short program and then sitting there in front of everybody awaiting his score. In his dream, he always finished seventh.
In reality, he finished first.
But there is an explanation for those dreams. At Vancouver, Abbott skated to disaster in the short program and buried any chance at a medal.
In Boston, he began to banish that very real nightmare from Vancouver.
Sochi is the best place to truly bury those bad visions from yesterday.