(SOCHI, Russia) — U.S. figure skater Jeremy Abbott managed to bounce back from a serious fall that left him winded and prone on the ice for nearly 20 seconds during the men’s short figure-skating program Thursday.
Abbott fell after his first jump, landing on his side and then sliding into the padded walls. Instead of jumping up and continuing his program, Abbott appeared injured and stayed down long enough that at least one point was deducted from his score for the interruption in his program.
As Abbott got back up, it was initially unclear if he would be able to continue the program, but the crowd at the event started to cheer and the 28-year-old finished his program without another fall or even serious wobble.
Ending up with a score of 72.58, it appeared unlikely Abbott would be a serious contender for a gold medal, which will be decided after the men’s free skate later this week. While Abbott has won the U.S. Nationals three times, he has never medaled in a solo Olympic competition. He won a bronze medal for the figure skating team competition earlier this week.
In an interview with NBC Sports after his performance, Abbott said the crowd helped to encourage him.
“When I heard the crowd behind me and after me, I have to finish this for them,” said Abbott, who is planning to retire this year. “I wasn’t going to let it go. I was like, ‘Not this time.’ My personal story has always been about perseverance and always getting up when I fall,” said Abbott. “Maybe I’m not Olympic champion, but I can teach the world about that.”
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