Jeremy Abbott Must Rebound in Individual Competition After Meltdown in Team

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2014

Jeremy Abbott of the United States, centre front, waits for his results after competing in the men's team short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Pool)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Jeremy Abbott's start to the Sochi Games got off to a dreadful start. 

Competing in the men's short program in the inaugural Olympic team competition, Abbott put his team in a giant hole with a disastrous skate. 

His disappointment in his performance can be seen and felt in this post-skate picture:

Also, look at that terrible score!

Abbott wasn't expected to be the most dominant skater in the program, but it's been a long time since he's earned marks that low.

For the team competition, it is the ranking among competitors for each event that is used to determine the winner. Abbott came in seventh in the 10-man competition.

Here are the scores from the men's event:  

Men's Short - Team Competition
Team PointsSkater/CountryScore
10Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan97.98
9Yevgeny Plushenko, Russian Federation91.39
8Patrick Chan, Canada89.71
7Han Yan, China85.52
6Florent Amodio, France79.93
5Peter Liebers, Germany79.61
4Jeremy Abbott, U.S.65.65
3Yakov Godorozha, Ukraine60.51
2Matthew Parr, Great Britain57.40
1Paul Bonifacio Parkinson, Italy53.94

Abbot's run started off with a thud and never recovered. He crashed into the wall on a failed quad. He then turned a triple-jump into a double and a double into a single. 

Abbott was crushed, and he had this to say, via Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, following his disaster that was his short program:  

I’m torn apart that I couldn’t do this for my team and my teammates. I love being a part of Team USA, and I’m so honored to be skating with the kids I’m skating with. They really have become like family over the last couple weeks, and I really wanted to pull out a win.

In sports, bad performances often draw intense criticisms from fans. Abbott's performance was so soul crushing, however, that it would seem sympathy flooded the hearts of fans.

A quick scan of Twitter reveals lots of sentiment like this:

At 28 years old and in his second Games, chances are this is Abbott's last shot at Olympic glory. 

He finished ninth in Vancouver in the men's competition, and not many expected him to pull out a medal from this year's competition. 

Of course, not many expected Abbott to completely derail the team with his short program. 

Abbott is the three-time American champion and a seven-time Grand Prix Series medalist. He's had a wonderful career. It is going to be hard to remember any of that, however, if Abbott continues his woes from the short program in the team competition into the individual competition. 

Abbott crashed in the team short program on a quad. Although his fall into the wall was a bit extreme, he has a long history of struggling on anything requiring four rotations. 

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

Although, it's not like he can't land one:

If Abbott puts together the skating run of his life, he can medal in the individual competition. He doesn't, however, have to medal to salvage his trip to the Olympics. He just needs to have a solid skate. 

He needs to prove, in what is likely his last time on this bright of a stage, that he can handle the pressure and put together a performance worth remembering for all the right reasons. 

I'm sure that would help him reconcile his hard feelings over his poor performance in the team competition and help give his legacy a late boost.