Sometimes people surprise you, and U.S. Olympic figure skater Jason Brown is one of those folks. The 19-year-old earned one of two spots on 2014 U.S. Olympic team after a rousing performance at the U.S. championships. And he did the whole thing with a genre-defying ponytail — a feature almost everyone who writes about him seems to be mesmerized by.
While his technique hasn't been at the forefront of the conversation, he stands to capture America's attention in a big way when the Olympics commence, as his ability to connect with a crowd is unmatched throughout the sport. Whether or not that will turn into gold (medals, that is) is another question, but at the very least viewers will have fun watching him show off his talent on the ice.
The Highland Park, Ill., native has been taking first and second place trophies in Great Lakes championships, Midwestern sectionals, various national championships, and a handful of international competitions since he was 12, so perhaps he's on the road to an Olympic medal after all. He may be only 19 and he may look more like a rock star than most gold-medal-winning skaters, but it's all about what happens on the ice. Something has kept his judges smiling for the past seven years, right?
And the Crowd Goes Wild
Maybe it's the two triple axles he pulls off flawlessly, or maybe he's just a joy to watch, but whatever it is, the crowd loved this guy at the 2014 U.S. Championships, where he placed second.
No Quads, No Problem
One of the biggest obstacles Brown faces is his inability to perform the quad jumps that other skaters can perform, but experts suggest that his showmanship may make up for it. There's never only one route to greatness, folks.
He's Technically Viral
The above video of Brown's performance has already garnered 1.5 million views and the numbers keep growing. With that kind of attention this early, he's going to have plenty of eyes on him as he jumps into the competition in Sochi.
Brown is so new to the game (at least on this level) that he's still working on his public persona. He's still working with an unverified Twitter (ahem, Twitter, get on it already), he's only a year out of the junior figure skating ranks, and he's not yet a household name, but how much sweeter would his victory be if he went from "Jason who?" to one of our national Olympic champions in just a few short weeks?
He's a Total Surprise
Because he's such a newbie, no one, not even his trainer, thought 2014 would be the year he took on the Olympics. "He was not thought of initially for Sochi for two reasons: One was the quad and the other just that he was a first-year senior," his trainer said to the Ice Network. Though he's a maniac (maaaaniac) on the ice, it's something of a miracle that he made it to this spot so quickly.