Jason Brown is the pony-tailed 19-year old figure skating phenom who all but conquered Sochi, Russia, this week.
But he is also Monument's very own Jason Brown who spent up to eight hours a day the last several months perfecting his craft at the Colorado Sports Center.
“He's a tremendous person,” said Al Pederson, a former National Hockey League defensemen who runs youth and adult programs at the Sports Center. “He's very dedicated. He does everything right.
“And he's very approachable. He's such a down to earth kid.”
Brown finished in a solid ninth place after Friday's 4 ½-minite free skate to the Riverdance music of Reel Around the Sun by Bill Whelan at the Iceberg Skating Palace. He was three places better than fellow American Jeremy Abbott, a Cheyenne Mountain High School graduate.
Pederson was in Minneapolis on Friday (Feb. 14) with four Triple-AAA youth hockey club teams from the Sports Center. But that didn't keep him from keeping a close eye on what was happening more than 7,000 miles away in Sochi.
“The top 10 is pretty good,” Pederson said with a smile. “He's on the radar now.”
During his free skate, Brown earned no points for a triple loop at the end of his program because of a previous false takeoff that was counted as a jump.
Brown became an internet sensation after his program last month at the United States Championships. His video went viral and now has nearly four million hits.
Brown, who is from Highland Park, Illinois, came to Monument last year so that he could train at the Sports Center and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He kept a relatively low profile while attending classes at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
“I think it's pretty cool that we've got the Olympic Training Center in town that allows people to go to UCCS as well,” said Garrison Summers, a student at UCCS. “I don't know how much fame UCCS will get from Jason Brown, but it's cool none-the-less.
“People around school have been talking him and there have been Twitter updates on the school's web site.”
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu won the Gold, while Canada's Patrick Chan took home Silver. Kazakhstan's Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, the world silver medalist, won Bronze.
The men's figure skating competition was not without drama. Russian hero turned goat Evgeni Plushenko decided to pull out of the event, much to the dismay of his countrymen.
Although he was the dominant skater the past 15 years, with an Olympic Gold and two Silvers before coming to Sochi, he is 31 years old and underwent back surgery a year ago.
Abbott, the four-time defending American champion, took a hard fall on an attempted quadruple toe short during his short program. But Abbott had a strong free skate and was able to climb from 15th to 12th place.
“If you think it was a tearjerker yesterday wait until you see this one,” said Abbott's mother, Allison Scott, on Facebook. “Even John Wayne would've been proud of this true grit”
Scott, who is the director of communications at The Broadmoor, added that her son will be on the Today Show.
“Look for us `girling' in the background,” she wrote.