Rippon, originally from Scranton, Pa., but now training in California alongside Northern Virginia’s Ashley Wagner, overcame his own challenge en route to the silver, needing an emergency repair job when the heel separated from one of his skating boots during Thursday’s practice.
Like Rippon conceded that Saturday’s showing wasn’t his best, but he was pleased nonetheless.
“I gave each element 100 percent,” said Rippon, 23. “I’m pleased I could fight through everything and pick the program up from that really dangerous looking fall, just keep it going and finish strong.”
Regarding the U.S. Olympic team, the biggest question in men’s skating centers on the fitness of defending Olympic champion Evan Lysacek, 28, sidelined since the 2010 Vancouver Games because of a string of injuries. Originally scheduled to make his competition return here at Skate America, Lysacek withdrew in early October, citing a hip injury.
Lysacek’s absence proved an opportunity 18-year-old Jason Brown, the 2013 world junior silver medalist named as his replacement for Skate America. A surprising second following the short program, Brown finished sixth overall in his Grand Prix debut.
“This is more than I had hoped,” said Brown, whose free skate to music from Riverdance got the sparse crowd clapping along but lacked the technical ambition of competitors who were older and more experienced than he.
“No matter what happened, I kept fighting and pushing through,” Brown said. “That’s definitely my main goal: No matter what happens, leave it there, keep moving and go forward!”
Note: In ice dance, two-time defending world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their fourth consecutive Skate America title Saturday night, beating their nearest competitor by nearly 20 points. Davis and White finished with 188.23 points, earning a standing ovation for a fast-paced, emotive dance set to Rimski-Korsikov’s “Scheherazade.” Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte claimed silver (168.49), while American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani took bronze (154.47).