- Figure Skating
Jeremy Abbott hits out at critics with 'middle finger'
SOCHI, Russia - American Jeremy Abbott hit out at his critics Friday night following his free skate at the Olympics, the 28-year-old offering a harsh response to those who say he can't handle the pressure internationally.
"I just want to put my middle finger in the air and say a big 'F-you' to everyone who has ever said that to me because they've never stood in my shoes," Abbott told reporters. "They've never had to do what I've had to do."
Embedded owg_slideshow: U.S. figure skater Jeremy Abbott takes a tumble during the men's short skate competition
Abbott, a four-time U.S. national champion, fell hard in his short program Thursday night at the Olympics, finishing 15th in that segment and ending up 12th overall. He was ninth four years ago in Vancouver, and - despite being a multi-Nationals winner - doesn't own a World Championships medal.
"Nobody has to stand center ice in front of a million people and put an entire career on the line for eight minutes of their life when they've been doing it for 20-some years," Abbott continued. "And if you think that that's not hard, then you're a damn idiot."
Embedded video_content_type: Jeremy Abbott falls hard during short program
They were surprising words from Abbott, who has taken a careful approach to his dealings with the press. He apologized to a U.S. Figure Skating press officer present, though she didn't stop him from speaking his mind.
"So some people can handle it better than others, but everyone has that mental struggle and everyone goes through the same doubts and the same things," Abbott said. "Some people have their moment at the Olympics and some people have theirs at the national championships."
Abbott was widely criticized for a low score in the newly-created figure skating team event last week, then had a poor short program again in the individual event, slamming against the boards at the Iceberg Skating Palace on a quadruple jump fall, lying on the ice for several seconds before continuing.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Olympic figure skating falls
"I'm proud to be standing here. I'm a four-time national champion. I'm a two-time Olympian and no one can take that away from me."
Abbott will retire at the end of this season, though he has not said whether he will go to the World Championships next month in Japan.
"So whatever other people have to say about me, that's their own problem because I'm freaking proud of what I've done," he said. "I'm not going to apologize for anything."
Embedded video_content_type: Jeremy Abbott perseveres after hard fall in men's short program