Tag Archives: Jason Brown

‘Ice Dreams’ show draws sellout crowd to state-of-the art Twin Rinks venue

26 Sep

By Liz Leamy

A sold-out crowd of more than 2,600 people gathered at Twin Rinks Ice Center in East Meadow, N.Y., on Sept. 20 to cheer on several of the country’s top skaters and a talented local contingent as they performed in the show “Ice Dreams.”

Headliners included Olympic medalist Jason Brown, 2012 U.S. pairs champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, 2013 U.S. pairs silver medalists Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, and New York-area standout Samantha Cesario, U.S. junior silver medalist Mariah Bell and U.S. junior bronze medalist Jimmy Ma.

The show served as the official opening for Twin Rinks, a privately funded $15 million state-of the-art venue nestled in Eisenhower Park, located near Jones Beach, the famous New York State Park. The 165,000-square-foot facility consists of two indoor, NHL-sized skating rinks, as well as one outdoor rink.

Senior and pre-juvenile teams from the Skyliners, a nationally ranked New York-area synchronized skating program, glided, turned and twizzled their way around the ice, along with a cast of more than 120 young up-and-comers who performed group numbers.

The 18-year-old Bell, who trains in Monument, Colo., under coach Kori Ade, felt the crowd’s excitement.

Mariah Bell

Mariah Bell

“It was so much fun to be out there,” Bell said. “Everyone has been so great and I have had the best time.”

Show producer Tara Modlin was thrilled with the turnout as well as the energy that permeated in the building.

“It was a great night and I don’t think one person left without getting a picture or autograph, which is nice because you want people to have those memories for years,” she said. “We want to reach out to as many people as possible to increase interest in skating, and shows like this are a way to do that.”

The good feelings continued at the show’s after-party in an upstairs room at the venue, where skaters posed for photos, signed autographs and chatted with fans.

“This has been such a fantastic experience, the people have been so great and the energy is amazing,” Brown said. “I love it here and being in New York; it’s an incredible place.”

Brown ignited the crowd with a lively rendition of Little Walter’s song “Juke,” the competitive short program he will use this season, as well as “Cotton-eyed Joe,” which he performed in the Smucker’s Stars on Ice tour this spring.

In the latter, he wore overalls and a red and black plaid flannel shirt. He reeled off a soaring Russian split and lightning-quick triple flip, triple Lutz and two triple toes.

“I’m always pushing myself to be the best I can be and I just want to inspire people with my performances,” the 19-year old from Highland Park, Ill., said.

Brown put skating in the national spotlight last season with his electrifying Riverdance free skate at the U.S.

The Skyliners' Lily Young and show headliner Jason Brown

The Skyliners’ Lily Young and show headliner Jason Brown

Championships in Boston. The performance helped earn him a U.S. Olympic Team berth.

To date, this program has generated more than 4.8 million YouTube views, making it one of the most-watched figure skating programs ever on the Internet.

“I love to perform and bring skating to people; that’s what drives me,” said Brown, who like Bell, trains under Ade in Monument.

Brown’s presence was much of the reason for the huge crowd, according to the show’s organizers.

“I think [the show] represents a means of introducing skating to people and this was a way of really bringing it home,” said Mary Lynn Gelderman, Twin Rinks’ skating director and coach of Cesario. “I think the U.S. has a wealth of talent and I would like to do everything I can to help these athletes reach their full potential.”

 Mary Lynn Gelderman

Mary Lynn Gelderman

Last summer, Gelderman, who with the late Peter Burrows, coached 1982 World champion Elaine Zayak, relocated to Twin Rinks with the goal of helping grow figure skating in the New York-metropolitan area.

“Over the next few years, I see limitless possibility here,” Gelderman said. “We’re trying to bring a training facility to Long Island for all levels, from the grassroots to the champions, and everyone has been great in terms of making this happen, especially the owners who are people with incredible vision.”

Vision, of course, is everything, particularly in a sport such as figure skating.

Sarah Hughes, the 2002 Olympic champion who grew up and trained for many years on Long Island (with Patti Johnson D’Alonzo, a Twin Rinks staff member, who had taught her from Basic Skills through junior ladies) said in her opening speech that learn-to-skate programs and shows are what help spark the passion in athletes.

“This is where it all begins,” Hughes told the crowd.

Skyliners coach Josh Babb agreed.

“We want to bring the sport to as many people as possible,” Babb said. “This show has been a fantastic opportunity for the Long Island community to see a skating display of this type and I’m so glad synchro is a part of it.”

Other coaches here said shows like this have a profound effect upon people, particularly the younger generation.

“This has been an extraordinary opportunity for young skaters to watch and admire some of U.S. Figure Skating’s top talent,” said Dawn Wagner, a coach who works at Twin Rinks. “It’s exciting to be part of this experience, because it’s all about helping build the sport to its biggest possible extent.”

Mariah Bell, Elene Gedevanishvili, Samantha Cesario, Alexa Scimeca, Caydee Denney, Piper Gilles; back row, l-r Jimmy Ma, Jason Brown, Chris Knierim, John Coughlin, Paul Poirier

Mariah Bell, Elene Gedevanishvili, Samantha Cesario, Alexa Scimeca, Caydee Denney, Piper Gilles; back row, l-r Jimmy Ma, Jason Brown, Chris Knierim, John Coughlin, Paul Poirier

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Brown featured on cover of SKATING

30 Jul

Cover Capture

Olympian Jason Brown appears on the cover of the August-September issue of SKATING, which hits mailboxes starting July 31.

Brown is pictured on stage with a harmonica in tribute to late Chicago blues legend Little Walter. Brown, a Chicago-area native, is performing his short program this season to Little Walter’s 1952 chart-topping song “Juke.”

A story about Brown’s musical selections, another about the adversity his camp faced during the Olympic season and a question-and-answer segment with his mom and dad are featured in the issue.

Below is a list of commitments that the U.S. silver medalist has honored since leaving Sochi in February. Also below are photos from his June 30 photo shoot in Denver with professional photographer Hans Rosemond.

 

Since the Olympics, Jason has:

  • Represented the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Figure Skating in lighting the cauldron at the 2014 Olympic Downtown Celebration in Colorado Springs.
  • Resumed his education at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where he’s taking an accounting class this summer.
  • Traveled to the Bay Area as one of the special guests of U.S. Figure Skating’s S.T.A.R.S. program, in which skaters participate in a series of off-ice tests that measure athleticism and give benchmarks for overall fitness.
  • Went to the White House with Team USA and met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
  • Joined coach Kori Ade at the inaugural Best of U.S. Awards Show in Washington, D.C., where Ade won the USG Building Dreams Award.
  • Performed on the 20-city post-Olympic tour with Stars on Ice.
  • Threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field before a Chicago Cubs game.
  • Appeared on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” which Brown’s mother, Marla, helped to produce in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Moved from an apartment on the south side of Colorado Springs to the Olympic Training Center.
  • Received a key to the city of Highland Park, Ill., in a ceremony that featured a marching band and an ice sculpture in Jason’s image.
  • Walked the red carpet for the film Divergent with twin skating sisters Gracie and Carly Gold.
  • Performed his Riverdance free skate at Rockefeller Plaza and was interviewed by Matt Lauer on “The Today Show.”
  • Attended a Figure Skating in Harlem fundraiser in New York.
  • Appeared on Windy City Live (local Chicago show), where he demonstrated his ability to do the splits.
  • Appeared on an NBC Chicago news show.
  • Appeared on WGN Morning News.
  • Attended the Wish of a Lifetime benefit dinner. (Wish of a Lifetime is an organization whose mission is to foster respect and appreciation for seniors by granting life-enriching wishes.)
  • While in Chicago for Stars on Ice, Jason participated in five hours of a Skatefest where he skated with young skaters.
  • Teaches learn-to-skate classes on Saturday mornings in Monument.

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Jason Brown – A Dad’s Hero

5 Jun

Editor’s note: In the last six months, Olympian Jason Brown has won over countless fans throughout the world, including first lady Michelle Obama and Russian superstar Evengi Plushenko. His Riverdance free skate has achieved cultlike success, with more than 4.3 million views on YouTube. While training for the post-Olympic Stars on Ice tour in Monument, Colo., Brown met two more of his young fans, Lucie Reizian and her friend Delaney Peterson, at the Colorado Sports Center. It was there that Brown also won over the admiration of Lucie’s father Greg, who shares his story below.

By Greg Reizian

Jason Brown wastes no time sharing smiles, ideas, encouragement, skating skills and most importantly, his humanity. In less than one month’s time, I went from recognizing him from TV clips to a chance meeting at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, leading to a second encounter at Colorado Sports Center. There was my daughter, Lucie, and her good friend Delaney, two hardworking pre-juv’s, sharing the ice with Jason and several other top-level skaters. Hearts anxiously pounding at first, the girls settled into their practice routines after a good warm-up. With far less fanfare, Jason did the same.

Jason, who will be touring with Stars on Ice, keeps mastering his world-famous Riverdance routine. His music begins. Most skaters take a break along the boards to watch. Others, including Lucie, continue trolling the ice, aware of but not conspicuously avoiding a certain male skater whizzing by. I watch from an open door as my wife captures everything on her phone’s video camera.

Lucie synchronizes a double loop with one of Jason’s triple Axels. Amazing! She’s becoming quite casual about this arrangement when midway into his routine, Jason’s footwork lands him all too quickly at her doorstep, forcing him to step out. Thankfully there is no contact.

She realizes her mistake and takes refuge at the east end of the rink with her friend. Jason, whose moves and footwork were interrupted for four to eight bars of the music, acts like nothing happened. No expression of anger, frustration or contempt. Calm, cool and focused.

Later, Lucie, still somewhat mortified, approaches Jason to apologize. He informs her she had nothing to apologize for, that the ice was everyone’s to share, and then smiled and hugged her. For saving my daughter in this way at that moment, Jason became my hero.

Lucie-Jason-Delaney

L-R: Lucie Reizian, Jason Brown and Delaney Peterson

American Ice Theatre’s “Let’s Dance!” set for May 31

12 May

American Ice Theatre (AIT) will debut its first production in Chicago titled “Let’s Dance!” on May 31 at 7 p.m. Set to take place at the McFetridge Sports Center, this one-time premier event will be fun for the whole family.Jason Brown

Tickets can be purchased at http://americanicetheatre.org. General Admission is $30 and VIP Seating and reception with the skaters is $60. Along with the AIT ensemble, the show features work from finalists in the Young Artists Showcase (YAS), an online international figure skating choreography competition. Guest stars include 2014 Olympic Team bronze medalist Jason Brown, 2011 U.S. champion Ryan Bradley, 2013 U.S. champion Harmony Theatre Company and U.S. novice silver medalist Paige Ryberg.

AIT is a non-profit “dance on ice” company comprised of accomplished and nationally recognized figure skaters performing with a mission to infuse the art of dance to the ice by presenting contemporary and sophisticated work.

“My goal for American Ice Theatre is to be accessible enough that people on the streets of America know and appreciate what ice theatre is as they do for ballet,” AIT Founder and Director Jodi Porter said. “It is a model that can extend the life of a skater and allow for more career opportunities. There are talented national and world level skaters that don’t make the Olympic Team yet are beautiful to watch artistically. We are an artistic outlet for skaters to continue to grow and perform.”

“Let’s Dance, a celebration of artistic figure skating” takes the audience on a journey through classical, cultural, and contemporary dance on the ice. American Ice Theatre brings the best of ice and dance together in its inaugural production in Chicago.AITphotoPress

“AIT was built from my personal education and professional experience in dance and professional figure skating,” Porter said. “I have been actively educating others about the art and processes taken from dance and its translation to the ice. I see this fresh enthusiasm growing tremendously thanks to YAS and artistic skating seems to be a perfect fit here in Chicago.”

The performance is sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating and supported by the Windy City Figure Skating Club. For additional information call Jodi Porter (847) 920-4262 or email jporter@americanicetheatre.org.

Photos courtesy of Marla Brown

2013 Trophee Bompard Recap

16 Nov

Useful Links

Twitter  #TEB2013  |  Competition Notes (PDF)

Live Results/Starting Orders  |  icenetwork Event Page

What a week for Team USA! The Americans hauled in three medals, including one in each discipline in which it was represented.

Ashley Wagner is now a two-time Trophee Bompard champion, and with the win, should cement her spot at the 2013 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Japan. Meryl Davis and Charlie White punched their ticket to the event last weekend.

Wagner’s total score of 194.37 points represented an ISU personal best. She finished second in the free skate behind silver medalist Adelina Sotnikova of Russia. Wagner’s Romeo and Juliet free skate, which she performed in a lovely new maroon dress, featured a triple flip-triple toe combination and two Level 4 spins. Wagner’s PCS mark of 65.81 was the highest of the event. The bronze medal went home with Russia’s Anna Pogorilaya.

Samantha Cesario, who finished fourth, set ISU personal bests all around. Her clean “Carmen” free skate earned 116.15 points as she finished with 172.70 overall. Christina Gao endured a tough free skate and finished eighth overall.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin won the first American pairs medal of the Grand Prix season, taking home bronze behind China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong (193.86 total points) and Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (190.89 total points). The gold medal for Pang and Tong is their 10th on the Grand Prix Series.

Denney and Coughlin, who earned 184.01 points overall, produced a clean Phantom of the Opera free skate that featured the highest technical score of the competition. Their free skate score totaled 120.49, including 63.54 on the first mark. Highlights included three Level 4 lifts in the program’s second half and a huge triple twist worth 7.00 points (including 1.20 on GOE). The bronze-medal win is the third of Denney and Coughlin’s career.

Jason Brown, in this second career Grand Prix appearance also won the bronze medal behind perennial power houses Patrick Chan of Canada and Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. Chan, the three-time World champion, posted world record scores in the free skate (196.75) and overall (295.27) as he sailed to victory. Hanyu was also superb as he earned 263.59 points overall.

And for Brown, while it may not have been perfect, his free skate was easily enough to put him in medal position when combined with his clean short program from the day before. In fact, Brown’s total score of 243.09 points was nearly 30 points more than that of fourth-place finisher Han Yan of China. Brown set personal superlatives throughout the week. His “Reel Around the Sun” free skate featured a triple Lutz-loop-triple Salchow combination worth 12.37 points and added triple flip-triple toe worth 10.54.

Team USA didn’t have any ice dancers compete in France. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won the title followed by Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalpov and France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat.

Next week, the Grand Prix Series will wrap up in Moscow with Rostelecom Cup. Team USA will also have a team competing at Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria.

2013 Trophee Eric Bompard – Day 1

15 Nov

Useful Links

Twitter  #TEB2013  |  Competition Notes (PDF)

Live Results/Starting Orders  |  icenetwork Event Page

What a day from Paris! The short programs featured great all-around competition, and going into Saturday’s free skates, Team USA is in medal contention in all three disciplines in which it is represented.

NBC will air coverage of the event from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Nov. 17, with additional broadcast coverage available on Universal Sports Network and throughout the weekend.

Icenetwork Season Pass subscribers will have access to live video from Trophee Bompard. To become a registered user or a Season Pass subscriber, please visit www.icenetwork.com. Event coverage, including results, news, recaps and photos, will be available on icenetwork to all users.

Ashey Wagner, who began her season with a second-place finish at 2013 Hilton HHonors Skate America, leads after the short program. She takes a six-point cushion into the free skate over Russia’s Anna Pogorilaya and Adelina Sotnikova, who are virtually tied at 60.03 and 60.01, respectively. En route to 66.75 points, Wagner’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” program featured a trio of Level 4 spins and Level 4 footwork, while she added two jumps, a triple loop and a double Axel, in the second half of the performance. Christina Gao and Samantha Cesario sit in fourth and fifth, respectively, and certainly in medal contention. Gao totaled 58.81 points and Cesario earned 56.55.

Friday started off strong as Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, the 2012 U.S. pairs champions, registered their best short program score of the season at 63.52 points. They are in fourth place, but less than four points out of first. The “Tosca” program featured seven elements that received positive GOEs, including side-by-side triple toes and a level 4 lift and pairs spin. China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong, who have skated together internationally since 1997, hold the lead with 67.69 points. They are followed closely by Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Russia’s Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov and Denney and Coughlin.

The top four men after the short program, Patrick Chan of Canada, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, our own Jason Brown and China’s Han Yan, came to compete on Friday. Chan registered a personal best short program score with 98.52 points. Hanyu’s technical mark of 52.72 (overall 95.37) was the highest of the event. Brown, skating to “The Question of U” by Prince put out a perfectly clean performance. Six of the program’s seven elements earned a GOE of over 1.00 and his four non-jump elements (three spins and a step sequence) were all Level 4. His total score of 84.77 represented a personal best. Han, who won Cup of China by a landslide, narrowly trails Brown at 84.34 points.

Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the reigning Olympic champs, lead the dance event with 75.31 points. They are followed by Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France and Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov.

2013 TROPHEE BOMPARD ICENETWORK BROADCAST SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern; subject to change)
Saturday, Nov. 16
8:10 a.m. – Pairs free
Denney/Coughlin – 8:58 a.m.

9:55 a.m. – Men’s free
Brown – 10:51 a.m.

12:45 p.m. – Free dance

2:15 p.m. – Ladies free
Cesario – 3:06 p.m.
Gao – 3:14 p.m.
Wagner – 3:37 p.m.

UNIVERSAL SPORTS NETWORK 2013 TROPHEE BOMPARD BROADCAST SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern; subject to change)
Saturday, Nov. 16
1 p.m. – Pairs free
2 p.m. – Free dance

Team USA Earns Five Medals in Sochi

8 Dec

Saturday, December 8th – Iceberg Skating Palace – Sochi, Russia

Useful Links

Twitter  #GPF2012 |   icenetwork.com Event Page

Official Event Page   |   icenetwork.com Event Photos

Schedule (PDF)   |   Live Results/Starting Orders

*Coverage of the 2012 Grand Prix Final will air on NBC this Sunday from 1-3 p.m. ET*

Team USA added three medals today as events concluded from the 2012 Grand Prix Final and 2012 Junior Grand Prix Final. Ashley Wagner earned silver today for her first Grand Prix Final medal, while Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history as they became the first ice dance team in history to win four Grand Prix Final titles.

Davis and White skated their best performances of the season in Sochi to total a season-high 183.39 points. Their “Notre-Dame” free dance, that White called “fantastic,” was highlighted by an array of level 4 elements including one spin, four lifts and the twizzle sequence. They earned 110.19 points for the segment.

White continued, “Emotionally, technically, we really put it all out there. I’m proud of the way we fought through it. It’s a great step to help us build toward winning Worlds.”

Russian President Vladmir Putin was on hand to watch the free dance, a fact that Davis and White were aware of but tried to push to the back of their minds before the skate.

“The ice, the atmosphere and the crowd were fantastic,” Davis said. “We heard (Russian President) Putin was in the audience which is really exciting. When you hear about important people in the audience, it’s not something you try to focus on before you skate. But afterward we were like, ‘Oh! Putin was in the audience. That’s cool.'”

Wagner showcased her tenacity as she continued her “Samson and Delilah” free skate following a hard fall on a double Axel and earned 115.49 points for the segment. She started out strong with a triple flip-double toe-double toe jump sequence that earned 9.30 points. Wagner would fall earlier in the program on a triple Salchow, but rebounded nicely with a pair of spins and two triple jumps before suffering the fall that required immediate ice on her left hip following her exit from the ice.

Despite the pain, Wagner went on to perform triple flip and her closing spin.

“I’m really proud of myself. I was able to pull myself together after a fall like that,” she said. “Going into the next jump, you’re pretty much terrified that you’re going to do that again. I knew I could either give the competition away or at that point I could continue to fight. I’m happy that I really pushed through.”

Wagner, who totaled 181.93 points for the week, doesn’t think she injured herself seriously.

“We’re going to see how it progresses for the rest of the weekend,” she said. “The team doctor said that I have a hip pointer. I don’t know what that is but I can tell you it hurts. We might be looking into getting X-rays later this week. For the most part, I think it’s one of those things where I got myself pretty good. But I’ll be fine by the time nationals comes around.”

Japan’s Mao Asada enjoyed the best competition of her season to secure her third Grand Prix Final title with a score of 196.80 points. Her teammate Akiko Suzuki won bronze with 180.77 points.

Christina Gao, in her Grand Prix Final debut, totaled 154.54 points for the week. She felt much more comfortable in her free skate after what she called a shaky short program.

“It felt much better than yesterday,” Gao said. “I didn’t have a great warm up but I’m glad I pulled it together for the program. I know I’m tough and I’m more consistent than I’ve ever been before. Overall, I’m happy with how I did.”

Featuring a field of newly minted JGP Final competitiors, the junior ladies podium featured Hannah Miller, who won the silver medal for Team USA. Coming into the competition, Miller was focused on competing two strong performances. She did just that, and received what coach Kirsten Miller-Zisholz called “a bonus” medal.

On medaling, Miller said, ““It’s super great. It was just my goal to come here and skate my best. That put me in a medal spot so I’m excited.”

She earned 168.41 points for the week and claimed the silver medal by one point over bronze medalist Anna Pogorilaya of Russia. Elena Radionova helped the host country complete a sweep of the junior podium with a total score of 179.40 points.

Angela Wang had reason to celebrate after executing the second-best free skate of the day to the tune of 110.89 points, a season high. Her Ladies in Lavender program was highlighted by the highest-scoring technical element of the segment, a triple Lutz-triple toe-double toe combination worth 12.50 points.

“I felt really calm,” she said. “I have been working really hard on my artistry for this program and I hope that showed.”

Wang finished with 162.05 points for the week.

Leah Keiser placed sixth in Sochi with a total score of 137.44 points.

Complete coverage of the event is available at icenetwork.com.

Members of Team USA will next be in action at the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships set for Jan. 20-27 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.