Chats with Olympian & Chicagoan Jason Brown

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If you envision an Olympic athlete, what do you consider? I had the pleasure of sitting down with US Olympic Determine Skater Jason Brown. For somebody who should maintain such composure throughout their sport, he was so carefree and had a little bit of a childlike spirit about him. Typically we neglect that Olympians are actual, on a regular basis folks too. It didn’t take lengthy for me to understand that in his bubbly persona.

Jason grew up in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. He watched his sister undergo ice skating classes as a child and it wasn’t lengthy afterwards that Jason joined her. He continued to play different sports activities whereas he skated as a child. It wasn’t till at some point he was in a junior excessive and realized the place his coronary heart belonged. He was on the soccer subject and the match led to a loss, all the crew was crushed. Jason merely thought to himself, “I don’t perceive why everyone seems to be so upset, it’s simply soccer, guys!!” This second adopted a skate shortly after and Jason didn’t carry out to his expectations, and finally, he was heartbroken. “I hadn’t given it my all, and that’s when it actually shifted.” It was then he knew that he was able to commit to only his skates.

Jason received his first Junior Nationwide Title on the age of 15, which additionally occurred to be the identical 12 months because the Vancouver Olympics. He sat and watched his fellow Senior teammates compete for a spot on the US Olympic crew, and his wheels began turning. “In 4 years, I hope I can simply be on the opposite aspect, I simply need an opportunity to say I competed for a US Olympic spot.” Jason additionally began competing on the worldwide stage that very same 12 months. His first journey to Italy actually opened his eyes to an entire new world. Success after success, Jason lastly discovered himself on the US Olympic crew for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. And for those who’ve adopted his success through the years, he walked away with a bronze medal for the Males’s Staff Skate. To not dangerous for the 19 12 months who simply wished to compete for a spot on the crew!

Now, many youngsters at this age would probably have been faraway from public colleges. Jason’s dad and mom insisted on conserving him in class, elevating him at residence together with his siblings, and conserving as a lot of his life as regular as potential till he graduated from highschool. He was allowed to depart for competitions throughout spring break, winter break, and over the summers. He deliberate together with his lecturers forward of each journey that brought on him to overlook faculty, scheduling tutoring classes and bringing homework with him throughout each single journey. He praised his lecturers to no finish, “I couldn’t have performed it with out the assist of my lecturers. They have been very adaptable, and I couldn’t have steadiness with out them.”

Very like the remainder of the world, Jason had many hurdles to leap via going into the 2022 Olympics. Competing throughout a world pandemic requires rather more consideration to element. Jason was required to check for COVID-19 on quite a few events. He defined probably the most annoying a part of all the Olympic expertise this time round was the lead as much as the departure. Many issues needed to be performed, coaching was being wrapped up, and he wanted to someway keep inside his little “bubble” to make sure he would by no means take a look at optimistic for COVID-19. “As soon as we have been there, it was so organized, and it turned so routine. On daily basis we acquired checked, you have been all the time carrying masks. You felt very protected within the bubble, it was simply stepping into the bubble that was exhausting.”

Competing with out crowd assist additionally provides one other complicated layer to the bubble. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that at this level he’s been competing with out followers for two years. “Is it perfect? No. Nevertheless it wasn’t new.” When requested about his future plans on the ice, he wasn’t positive learn how to reply. Will we see him on the ice 4 years from now? Even he’s unsure. At solely 27 years previous, he’s seen a variety of success and his physique has been via fairly a bit.

However how about his thoughts? Seeing success at such a younger age, the strain was continuously constructing. He all the time had an id challenge that made him really feel as if he wasn’t adequate. “I acquired wrapped up in placing my id into one whole basket, and if I had a nasty day on the rink, it weighed increasingly on me. I felt like a disappointment.” In 2018 he broke and his threshold was uncovered. He “bombed” his first efficiency and he actually unraveled. Quickly after, he sought out the psychological steerage he so desperately wanted. He made fairly a couple of modifications and utilized every thing he discovered to make sure he wouldn’t have to hold his skates earlier than he wished.

On the finish of the day Jason all the time falls again onto the quote by Oscar Wilde, “Be your self, everybody else is already taken.” This was one thing he needed to engrain after his battle with psychological well being through the years, and it’s stored him grounded. “Nobody is YOU and nobody can do what YOU can do. And I believe there’s one thing so particular in that, particularly in a world the place we’re continuously evaluating ourselves.” These are phrases that may be translated into so many aspects of life. Whether or not it’s in work, your private life, or on the run. Jason encourages everybody to focus in your objectives, however to the take these cheat meals, off days, or psychological breaks as wanted. You’ll be able to’t do all of it, however you are able to do nice issues for those who’re true to your self.

 

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