Updated: February 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm
This article includes language that some readers may find inappropriate. The Gazette is allowing its use to help tell Jeremy Abbott’s story.
By David Ramsey
SOCHI, Russia • Jeremy Abbott plans to someday watch his horrific fall at the Olympics.
“Oh, absolutely,” Abbott said Friday night after finishing 12th in men’s figure skating. “You know, I’ve taken falls before like that. At the time, it’s very painful but after the fact it’s almost hilarious.”
When Abbott returned to his room Thursday night after a tumble to the ice that injured his right hip and ribs. He was in agony, but he still took time to look at a photo of the fall.
“It made me look like I was diving head first into the ice,” Abbott said. “It made me laugh. A good chuckle. A painful chuckle.”
Abbott is not laughing as he considers his critics. Abbott, the former Broadmoor Skating Club member, is a four-time national champion, but has never enjoyed as much success when he skates internationally. His struggles have led some skating observers to question his ability to perform under the severe glare of the Olympics.
Abbott was asked for his response to those who say he “chokes” in major international competition. He sighed for a few seconds before speaking.
“I just want to put my middle finger in the air and say a big f-u to anyone who ever said that about me because they’ve never had to stand in my shoes and they’ve never had to do what I do,” Abbott said. “To stand in center ice in front of a million people and put your entire career on the line. If you think that’s not hard, then you’re a damn idiot.”
Abbott wasn’t finished.
“Some people can handle it better than others but everybody has that mental struggle. Some people have their moment at the Olympics.”
And some don’t.
Abbott, 28, crafted a strong farewell to the Olympics in his free skate performance Friday. On Thursday, Abbott crashed to the ice early in his routine and remained there motionless for several seconds.
He battled to his feet and finished his performance.
Abbott spent Friday alternating between heat and ice treatments to his bruised body. Before every performance, Abbott writes down his goals. He carefully wrote his plans, and handed them to Yuka Sato.
She erased the plans and wrote, “Just skate.”
Abbott’s sore body prevented him from attempting his most ambitious jumps Friday, but he was pleased with his performance. He said he’s satisfied as he nears the end of his competitive skating career.
“I’m standing up, holding my head high,” Abbott said. “I came here to do a job. I did it and I did it well. I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
When Abbott completed his farewell Olympic performance, he shook his fist and shouted one word.