'I'm now a four-time national champion, which is huge,' says Jeremy Abbott, who trains at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Bloomfield Hills — For U.S. Olympian Jeremy Abbott, this week at the Detroit Skating Club is both the afterglow and the calm before the storm.
After a sparkling short program in Boston last week that carried him to a fourth U.S. men’s title, Abbott is anticipating the weeks of ramped-up training before the Sochi Olympics.
“This week, it’s just about getting back into the swing of things and back to my training plan,” said Abbott, who at 28 is suddenly a veteran competing in his last season.
“Last week was very intense,” he said minutes after an hourlong skate. “This week is more about just kind of building slowly back into it.
“The next two weeks will be very high-intensity training.”
After a disappointing ninth-place finish at the Vancouver Games in 2010, Abbott admitted the awesomeness of an Olympic moment and the importance of the competition sent his emotions spinning.
But garnering a fourth U.S. title was an enormous victory.
“I just really wanted to go in and do my job and then on to the Olympics,” he said. “I wanted to be good enough.
“And I was a little more than good enough.”
Abbott’s talent always has garnered expectations. But his mental disposition at times has left him short of huge accomplishment.
A fourth U.S. championship is of considerable note, but some observers wonder if it is enough to propel him to big things in Russia, during what he says is his last year of competition.
“I’m now a four-time national champion, which is huge,” he said. “I’m the 11th man to have won four or more titles in the 100 years of the championships. So, that is pretty cool.
“And now I get to go to my second Olympic Games, which is huge.”
Under the calming watchfulness of his coach, Yuka Sato, and in his comfortably adopted home of Metro Detroit, on Abbott will considerable American hopes ride.
Evan Lysacek, the defending gold medalist, will not compete in Sochi due to injury. But Abbott said that since he heard of Lysacek’s fate, he has felt no additional pressure.
“You don’t want your competitors to have to withdraw because of injury,” Abbott said. “I mean, we’ve all been there and it’s upsetting because we all have goals and dreams and sometimes your body just won’t allow it. So, I felt badly for him.
“But it didn’t really change any of my mindset because, with or without him at the U.S. Championships, for example, I knew it wasn’t going to be like I could just walk straight through.
“So, whether he showed up or he didn’t, it really didn’t make an impact on my focus or my training.”
Shaun White qualifies for Olympic snowboarding
Shaun White lay flat on the ground in a daze, with a couple of medics hovering over him to assess the damage.
A few hours after that frightening scene played out at Mammoth Lakes, Calif., White earned his spot in the Olympics as winner of Thursday’s second slopestyle qualifying event.
He strung together three straight dazzling jumps to score a 95.2, then sat out his second run but got the win when none of the other 12 competitors could do better.
The victory made White the top American in two of the four qualifiers and guaranteed a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
On Friday, the two-time Olympic halfpipe champion is expected to ride on the halfpipe and try to secure his spot there.
'We the people' outlawed on woman's hockey mask
American goalie Jesse Vetter will have to go to the Olympics without a quote from the U.S. Constitution on her mask.
Vetter’s original design included a reference from the preamble to the Constitution, including the script of the opening words, “We the People.” But International Olympic Committee rules ban any “form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise,” on uniforms.
Canadian Guay fastest in downhill training
Erik Guay was fastest in World Cup downhill training yet again Thursday in Switzerland.
The Canadian racer extended his streak of winning a training run at each downhill venue this season, timing 2 minutes, 36.14 seconds on the 4.42-kilometer (2.75-mile) Lauberhorn.