Jason Brown, from Highland Park, has his eyes on Sochi and the Olympics. From ChicagoSide:
Most college freshmen spend their first days at school studying, partying, adjusting to roommates, and joining student organizations. Highland Park’s Jason Brown is different. While he is studying English and Japanese at the University of Colorado this fall, he’s skipping many of the extra-curriculars in favor of a different pursuit: making the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team.
Elite athletes in the sport usually must choose between college and skating. 18-year-old Jason chose both.
“I absolutely love being on the ice,” he said in a recent interview with ChicagoSide. “And over the years I’ve learned that if it doesn’t turn out, I’m never going to regret putting so much time into it and training as many hours as I do.”
Since he started training at age five, Jason guesses he’s clocked over 15,000 hours—or 1.7 years–on the ice. In street clothes, you wouldn’t necessarily take him for an athlete. He’s 5 feet 7 inches tall and 134 pounds with shoulder-length brown hair. When Jason pulls his hair into a ponytail at the nape of his neck and steps onto the ice, he becomes an artist, a dancer, Fred Astaire on blades. He can bring an audience to its feet and his mother to tears.
Jason’s success stems largely from the strong support he finds in his family. His father, Steve, works at a fluorescent lighting company and his mother, Marla, is a former television producer.
Marla said her son was always good about balancing skating and academics at Highland Park High School. Despite being in and out of class traveling for competitions, he managed to graduate in only three and a half years. He’s disciplined, driven and organized—qualities that make him successful on the ice as well, she said.
“I told him that he could take a year off from school if he’d like to focus on skating,” she said. “But he wanted to go right away.”