Fans of American Figure skating will have their attention focused on San Jose, California this week, as the US Figure Skating Championships are underway.
This is a prestigious event on its own, but also important as it gives us a preview of what might happen on the world stage. When you're watching this week, keep an eye on these skaters, as you'll be hearing a lot from them in the immediate future.
There isn't a male participant in this year's field with anywhere near Abbott's resume. He is a two-time U.S. Champion, three-time fourth-place finisher, finished fifth in the World Championships his last time there and ninth in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
But Abbott isn't just worth watching because of his past. He won the Cup of China, finished third in the Cup of Russia and fifth in the Grand Prix of Figure Skating. With a strong showing here, Abbott will be a force at the World Championships and can really begin to build momentum for the 2014 Olympics.
Not only does no participating contestant have Abbott's past, but his immediate future is better than any of his rivals.
Behold the future of American skating. Nagasu is more than two years away from her 21st birthday, but her accomplishments stand out. In 2008, she won the World Junior Championships.
Since then, her notable accomplishments include a second-place showing in the US Championships (2010), fourth place in the Olympics (2010) and seventh place in the World Championships (2011).
This season has been particularly strong for Nagasu. She won the Nebelhorn Trophy, finished second in the Cup of China and fifth in Skate Canada.
Nagasu is a name to watch because she is going to be around for a while. By the time the 2018 Olympics roll around, Nagasu will have not even hit her 25th birthday.
The 2010 champion is not experiencing anywhere near the season that she had in 2009-2010, but is still a factor. Like Nagasu, there is also plenty of time for Flatt to develop into a genuine star, as she's not yet 20 years old.
Flatt's season has not been fantastic, but she's been far from terrible, with a ninth-place finish in the Cup of Russia and 10th in the Skate Canada International.
Flatt easily has the makeup to put a good US Championships together and then be a threat to medal at the World Championships. With the Olympic Games two years away, she has time to develop into a threat for 2014.
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