SAN JOSE, Calif.- Coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen have the top two men following the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Friday.
Jeremy Abbott, the two-time U.S. champion and 2010 Olympian leads the show with a whopping 90.23, while his new training partner at the Detroit Skating Club, Adam Rippon, is second at 82.94.
Abbott, 26, was a disappointing fourth at Nationals and missed Worlds last season, and he said he was able to focus more due to the added time of not going to Moscow.
“We made sure every single angle was covered so nothing would happen like last year,” Abbott said. “I’ve been working really hard, it’s an incredible atmosphere (training with Rippon).”
The two-time world junior champion Rippon, 22, moved to Detroit from Toronto, where Brian Orser coached him, in June. He was fifth at Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. last year.
“It’s really affected my skating in a real positive,” Rippon said. “To be able to train with Jeremy is an honor and a great experience, I feel like we’re a team, and I’m really happy for him, and I’m sure he’s happy for me.”
Armin Mahbanoozadeh is in bronze medal position (80.66), followed by Ross Miner (78.90), Keegan Messing (76.66), Scottsdale native Max Aaron (67.89), and Jason Brown (75.68).
Aaron, 20, trains at the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs, the same as Mahbanoozadeh.
Chandler’s Douglas Razzano, 24, of the Coyotes Skating Club Scottsdale, is currently in eighth at 72.50 following his short program to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2.”
“I was disappointed about the quad, it’s been going well this week in practice,” Razzano said. “It’s not something that’s good all of the time, so I don’t expect to land it, but it’s been going well this week.
“I’m always a little nervous going into the last spin because I’m dizzy from the one before, so I have to back off and ride my edge in.”
Razzano, in his fifth senior Nationals, added he just wants his quad executed for Sunday.
“Nationals is the culmination of the hard work for the year, and it’s just nice to see everyone and the crowd,” Razzano said. “It’s fulfilling and just wonderful.”
The men’s long program is at 9:30 a.m. PT Sunday on NBC.
The other men’s figure skating news of the day was the announcement of Johnny Weir’s comeback to competition after two seasons.
“I’m very excited to get to work,” Weir said at his personal press conference at HP Pavilion. “Now that I’ve taken two years away from competition, I realize that figure skating, although it is huge, is not everything. I can come back without the pressure; my comeback is for personal gain, and if I place at a national or world championships, it doesn’t matter. I’ve achieved so many things throughout my career that for me this is to feel beautiful.”
Weir, 27, said he has been executing triples for a few weeks and hopes to land a quad by March and would like to shed six or eight more pounds to return to his skating weight. He also wants to mix Lady Gaga and “Carmen” for his program.
Weir won three-straight U.S. championships, a world bronze medal in 2008, and he appeared in two Olympics.
“I’m definitely smart enough to know if my time is over,” Weir said. “If by the end of the summer or the end of the fall, if I feel I’m not at the level where I should be to compete, then I know it’s time to hang up the skates. I think it’s not impossible to get back to a place where people think of me as a threat.”