Jason Brown: "I follow my own hair"


October 24, 2014
By Eva Maria Jangbro (EMJO)
Photos © Eva Maria Jangbro (EMJO)

While talking to Jason Brown, you can’t help but absorb some of the same positive energy he oozes when he performs on the ice. This American is full of laughs and seems to know exactly how to put people around him in a good mood. Add to that a fantastic first year as a senior skater, moving from one podium to the next; including the highlight of winning an Olympic team medal in Sochi. You may think he has the winning concept down already, but was everything as smooth and easy as it looked? What does Jason think of his first senior year, and what knowledge does he take with him into this season? I met up with Jason in Oberstdorf, Germany, after he had won the Nebelhorn Trophy.

You debuted as a senior in Oberstdorf last year, talented but fairly unknown. What do you take with you from last season?

It is amazing and so cool to come back to the same event a year later and look back at all that has happened; how I have improved mentally, grown physically and see what I have gained since last time I was here. Last year everything was thrown at me, it was my first senior year and everything was new. I got to come here to an Olympic qualifying event with that Olympic feeling. I got to be around people who were qualifying for the Olympics, and that’s something I will never forget, it was incredible! From there I went to my first Grand prix event (Skate America), then won bronze at Bompard in Paris, medaled at Nationals, went to the Olympics and won a team event medal. I felt like I was sponged; I was gaining so much information. There was so much excitement thrown at me during my first senior year, so much. Now it’s cool to be here again and start applying everything I learned: what worked last year and what didn’t? What makes an event successful, what did I learn to make my legs go through an entire week of competition? Things like that make it nice to be here and practice. I mean, it’s Oberstdorf and you can’t complain. I wish I could be here a few weeks!

I know the feeling. I add extra days every year I come to Oberstdorf. What do you think is the most important knowledge you gained from your first senior season?

I think one of the biggest things was pacing, like learning how to pace through events. At a senior level there is more media, you are around more high level skaters, the fields are deeper and everyone is very experienced. I had to learn how to manage the entire week and be off when I am off and take time to really recover, what regiment I should have when I wake up and stretching when I am done skating, what to eat etc. I learned these things throughout the year. When I went to Skate America I wasn’t expecting all the media and I wasn’t ready for it. Not that it was bad, it was just that I fell in love, I was like: “YES, I’ll talk to you and YES, I’ll talk to you too!” I was so excited, but putting so much energy into it was also very draining. But if I was to do it all over again I would not do it any differently, because I think I needed to learn. Now I don’t do less media, but I can wear loose sweatpants where last year I would be in jeans and a nice shirt to look more presentable and appropriate. When I went to eat breakfast I made sure I wore nice clothes. I have since learned that you can look presentable wearing slacks or whatever. I am learning when to be on and when to be off; how to pace myself.

How do you recharge?

I lie in bed, watch a movie, listen to music or do homework. I am in school too.

What are you studying?

At the moment I am doing Oral communication so it is like speech making.

You’re very good at talking!

But I am soo nervous talking in front of a crowd, oh my goodness, so nervous! When I’m one on one with someone, I’m ok, but when I am getting taped or at press conferences, my legs go like this… *shaking his legs*

Really? Well, we can’t tell!

Thank you! I mainly wanted to take the class for practice and get more comfortable talking in front of people.

Back to skating, are you happy with your first international competition for the season (the Nebelhorn Trophy)?

I am really excited about how it went. But it’s the beginning of the season and a bit early to put out 2 solid programs. I was definitely conservative in my free program since I wasn’t able to give as much as I had hoped. When I train at home, I give 100 % from the beginning. I end up doing 3 jumps and then I fall, fall, fall because I’m so tired.

When it comes to competition right now, I just want to pace the programs so there will be a lot more energy later in the season. But it was really exciting to have a start where my programs were scored right away. I didn’t get full credit for all my jumps, and I hope to improve that. But it makes me excited to look at the score and think “WOW! There are so many more points for me to collect and so much more growing I can do”. I really feel I have much more to give and it is definitely exciting when you are able to do a program and learn so much from it and still feel you gave it your all. My goal was to skate 2 solid programs and pace the programs, especially the long. The long today was more like a check list: done that, check! But in the end of the season, I want it to have been a journey. If I get to go to Worlds and you see my programs then, you’ll go: “Oh, see how it has developed!”

You have already competed nationally?

Yes, but they are just like little local events. I live in Colorado right now, and I did a competition in Colorado. It is not like a bunch of people signing up, but you do perform in front of judges. You have a chance to get your program out and see how it’s received. We never do full programs though, we might do 4 triples because it’s early in the season and we are not completely ready. Bu it helps, and when going to Oberstdorf or other first international competitions, it’s nice to have shown your programs before.

You have also skated in shows like Stars on Ice, what was that like?

I loved it. I only did 12 of the shows since my coach wanted me to go back into training to prepare for this season. I did 2 numbers in the show, but I was not in the group numbers. It was just so fun to travel with the cast and be part of it. It’s amazing, it really, really is!

Do you know there is a twitter account called Jason’s Ponytail?

Oh yes, I have seen it and it’s sooo funny! Who created it? I don’t know. It is hilarious so many people follow it. I follow it too. It’s funny to hear, but I follow my own hair. It is just so fun and it definitely has a big personality. I don’t know what is going on back there! *pointing at his ponytail*

The interview is over and I tell Jason I need a headshot. While I grab my camera he looks around and says: “How about if I jump up and sit on the fence, like this?” Before I know it he is on the fence. “Will this be ok?” Oh yeah, I think that is perfect! Like with Jason’s skating, even taking a headshot seems to come natural and with so much ease. I can’t wait to see his programs again!

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