Pride: Grand Junction man father to Olympic figureskater
Danny Abbott is walking on air because his son will soon be skating on thin Olympic ice.
Abbott, a Grand Junction resident, is the father of Jeremy Abbott, the two time U.S. Figureskating Champion who just earned a spot on the 2010 U.S. Olympic men’s figure skating team.
“I’m just walking up here,” Abbott said while holding a shaking hand high in the air as tears welled-up in his fatherly eyes.
Abbott was watching from the stands in Spokane, Washington as Jeremy gave the performance of his life last weekend, earning him the top spot on the team.
“There wasn’t a dry eye among us,” Abbott said of his ex-wife and daughter who were also in attendance.
Making the Olympic team was Jeremy’s lifelong dream, Abbott said. “Whether he wins or loses doesn’t really matter at this point,” he added.
The Abbotts lived in Aspen when Jeremy and his sister, Gwen, were young. His mother was an ice skater and Abbott was a skier. Abbott worked for a local ski company.
Jeremy began skating nearly as soon as he could walk. At four-years-old, he attended an ice show in Aspen where he saw Robin Cousins, the 1980 gold medal winner of men’s figure skating. From that point on, Jeremy knew that he wanted to be an Olympian.
Abbott described the hours of training, hard work, and financial strain on a family that has not one, but two, talented children. Jeremy’s sister Gwen is a nationally ranked downhill skier who competed multiple times in the X-Games.
“It took a lot of money,” Abbott said, “It’s the last true American sport because you can’t get sponsors and it’s a lot of out-of-pocket money for parents.” He added that the skates, boots, outfits, equipment, motel and travel expenses really add up after time.
“But, you also know he’s good,” and it’s just what a parent does to help his child succeed, he said.
The expense of the sport keeps many talented children from skating, Abbott explained. After winning at the junior level, Jeremy established two funds to help pay for training of young skaters.
Jeremy, his sister and mother moved to Colorado Springs to continue training while Abbott stayed in Aspen. “I attended as many events as I possibly could,” Abbott said.
He moved from Aspen to Grand Junction because of medical reasons. He was an all purpose clerk at City Market until his recent retirement.
Abbott is preparing to make the trip of a lifetime on Feb. 11 to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. He will take a train to Denver, fly to Seattle, then take another train into Vancouver.
Parents receive no special treatment, except a garuantee to be able to purchase tickets for their child’s event. “We’re just like anybody else,” Abbott said.
His family will attend the short and long exhibition. The Abbott’s plan on giving Jeremy a lei made of money before he enters the “kiss-and-cry” after the long program.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed if he doesn’t (win),” Abbott said, “No matter what happens he’s always going to be an Olympian and nobody can take that away from him.”
Abbott said his son stands a really good chance to win the gold and if he does win “I’ll cry,” Abbott said while dabbing his already overflowing eyes.