Like most Skaters, Jason Brown (USA) looks back at a strange and challenging season, but now he is gearing up for an exciting Olympic year. “As skaters and athletes we are just so used to the schedule and the predictability of the routine of what we do”, the 26-year-old said. He was unable to return to his training base in Toronto, Canada, for months because of the closed borders. On the other hand, he was able to spend time with his family in Chicago. “I was home for about three and a half months with my family. I was off (the ice) from March to June, and then I started to do a little bit of online coaching (lessons) in June. I was able to get back into Canada in July. It was definitely an interesting experience just being off the ice for that long, but it was really nice to be home.” He had not been home for such an extended period of time in seven years.
Even when Brown was able to return to Toronto and work with coaches Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, things were different. “Once the season began I think the hardest part was just trying to adapt to all the changes and restrictions that were going on. The gyms were open and then they were closed. Then we had ice time and then it was limited. So definitely an interesting year, I'm trying to manage it”, he noted. On the positive side, Jason feels he got a lot of quality time with his coaches. He did not compete at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Skate America and his first live event were the U.S. Championships last January. After that, he went to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships where he placed 7th. “I never questioned if the event was going to happen because after seeing the U.S. Championships go off, I thought this is possible, they are doing it in a really safe way. Everyone really felt secure, safe. We all followed protocol.” The same goes for the ISU World Team Trophy, Brown’s third and last live competition of the season.
By now the 2020 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championshps silver medalist is back in Canada, training for the season. He decided to keep his successful Short Program “Sinnerman” from the past season and returned to “Schindler’s List” for the Free Skating. “Skating to Schindler’s List had always been a dream of mine, and when I finally chose to skate my Free Program to the music in the 2019/20 season, I fell in love,” Jason explained. “With the start of the pandemic cutting the season a bit short, I felt like I didn’t have the opportunity to truly see it through and knew I had more to give. That is why we decided to bring it back for this Olympic Season. It’s a slightly different version and the choreography has changed a bit, but I’m beyond excited to have the opportunity to continue bringing this piece to life and performing it again this year,” he continued.
Brown and his team had decided before that they wanted to use two programs he had done in the past for the Olympic year. “There's a lot more that I have left in me, technically. But I also want to give so much artistically, and that takes a lot out of me when you're learning a new program and trying to create new storylines. I really invest myself into the choreographic process”, the Skater said. He feels it is an advantage for him to have programs he is confident with instead of having to learn a completely new one.
The Skater is now looking forward to start his season. He has been selected for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events Skate Canada International and Internationaux de France. Jason hopes that the season will be as normal as possible, but he feels that the pandemic has changed his perspective. “You really become grateful for what you have. And you kind of understand the difference of what you need versus what you want. You think you need X Y and Z but really, that's just what I want, what I like and you're able to do without that. And you're able to get through it and you're able to manage and kind of become more adaptable. I think that was a really key piece as far as the training goes,” the Skater said. “I just really learned to be so appreciative and grateful for the health that we all have. We take that for granted, we expect it and we think that it's normal to be healthy. And then I think it really showed how global our world is and how interconnected we all are and how what one person does really impacts someone else. I think that was something that became very evident during this time and that we have to do it for each other and we're in it together. There's so much negative, but I think there's so much that you can take away and hopefully the world has learned from it and we become stronger because of it.”