Jason Brown: How training with Orser's other stars makes me better

The Sochi 2014 team bronze medallist also discussed the impact of coronavirus on his training in an Olympic Channel exclusive.

By ZK Goh

Olympic figure skating team bronze medallist Jason Brown has told the Olympic Channel how training under Brian Orser with some of the world's other top stars and Olympic medallists is making him a better skater.

Speaking to the Olympic Channel after conducting a live Instagram workout, Brown, who is currently staying with family near Chicago during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, said working with coaches Orser and Tracy Wilson alongside athletes like Hanyu Yuzuru and Evgenia Medvedeva was "[bringing] the best out of each of us".

Although the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club where Brown trains is currently closed due to the pandemic, the group is finding ways to keep in touch.

"All the seniors get together and do a Zoom class, it's all skater-run, skater-led, keep that camaraderie going and the feeling of training together while we're all so far apart. Brian and Tracy do such a great job of creating such an environment at the rink," he said.

"The skaters bring an amazing energy to the rink and that's huge but what's even more important is how the coaches work with the skaters and bring the best out of each of us. Brian and Tracy really foster the group energy, it makes us all really inspired by each other."

During the live workout, Medvedeva commented on the live stream, which led Brown to remark how much he enjoys training with the Russian.

The pair joined Orser's team of skaters before the 2018/19 season, and have developed a close friendship.

"I have a lot of fun training with her," Brown said. "No one can compare to Evgenia, there is a fire in her eyes that is always on. There is no one who takes their time more seriously than her. She really taught me a lot about that."

With the Toronto Cricket Club team spread out across the world at the moment – Medvedeva is currently in Japan, according to Orser himself – Brown says keeping in touch virtually has helped.

"As soon as this quarantine happened, I was like we have to stick together, get through this together, and we'll become stronger for it."

The pair previously appeared on the Olympic Channel Podcast discussing their friendship, which you can listen to below.

Staying strong and coming back

Brown had been riding a wave of solid form when the 2019/20 season was prematurely ended due to the virus outbreak, with the World Championships – scheduled to be held in Montreal – cancelled the week before they were meant to take place.

The 25-year-old won silver behind Hanyu at the Four Continents Championships in February, his equal-best result in a major international championships (Brown also finished second in the 2013 World Juniors).

Therefore, the cancellation of the 2020 Worlds came as a blow, although the American is taking the positives from his curtailed season.

"It was definitely tough. I was in the best shape of my life and I was feeling so good," he said. "I was coming off one of the best finishes of any championship event I'd done and I was so eager to get to Worlds.

"That being said, safety comes first. I remember talking to my coaches that nothing was wasted [this season]. The plan "worked". I know that we didn't get to see it through, but the feeling was that I just kept getting stronger as the year went on.

"What we did was working and we know next year where to pick up, how to move forward, how to train through the season."

Japan's Kagiyama Yuma (bronze, left) and Yuzuru Hanyu (gold, centre) and USA's Jason Brown (silver, right) celebrate their medals at the 2020 Four Continents Championships.

Like many other athletes, Brown has been making use of sports psychologists to help him through these times.

"Mentally, I work with the sports psychologist every single week, talking about game plans. There's a lot of time to plan for the future and really discussing things that you might not have time to go through once the season picks up and you're really focused on the skating aspect."

And despite being away from Toronto, it doesn't mean Brown hasn't been working with his coach.

"Physically, I've been doing a lot with Brian Orser, we do jump classes (virtually) each week," he said when asked what else he was doing to stay in shape and keep up his form.

"I've been doing a lot of dance classes, which have been really fun, trying to work on my artistry. I've been doing a lot of cardio training.

"It's really just trying to be creative on working out and staying in shape."