Figure skating is one of the most captivating spectator sports in the Olympics. Not only are these young athletes super fit and athletic, but they’re also artists. Similarly, professional dancers like those in Riverdance meet the same expectations.
In addition to performing gravity-defying jumps, they’re expected to do it with grace and elegance. That’s not something that’s required in many sports.
Figure Skating to Irish Riverdance
One of the more distinctive artforms to come from Ireland is traditional Irish step-dancing. Riverdance is a feet-flying percussive Irish dance show where the dancers’ feet move so fast it’s almost hard for our eyes to keep up when we’re watching.
Also, one aspect of Irish step-dancing is that dancers hold their upper bodies rigid, creating an extra unique challenge and discipline.
Irish step-dancing was made famous in 1994 when the troupe known as Riverdance performed at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Moreover, Riverdance wasn’t even the main act at the competition. Nevertheless, they stole the show, brought the audience members to their feet, and have since performed more than 11,000 times and raked in gross revenue of more than $1 billion.
An Example of Riverdance Irish Step-Dancing
Before you watch Jason Brown figure skating in a Riverdance style, watch this short video of Riverdancers performing. This will give you an idea of the complexity of this dancing style.
Maybe you already knew how complex Irish step-dancing is. But if it’s your first time seeing Riverdance, imagine figure skating in that style.
Jason Brown’s Figure Skating Routine to “Reel Around the Sun”
When 19-year-old Jason Brown takes to the ice, he amazes us with his expertise on the ice, but he also gives us a show that we’ll never forget. Every single time.
In 2014, Jason was already a U.S. national champion. However, his figure skating routine in Riverdance style catapulted him into international fame and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team. His performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics earned him a Bronze Medal.
— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) January 28, 2020
In addition to his Olympic medal, Jason has won several other medals for figure skating. He’s a seven-time Grand Prix circuit medalist, the 2015 U.S. national champion, and he’s won two Four Continents medals.
When he was looking for an Olympic routine, he wanted something incredibly special. Also, he wanted it to be challenging for him as a figure skater and as a performer. In short, he wanted to push his boundaries.
When his choreographer suggested a Riverdance-style routine, Jason felt overwhelmed.
“What are you thinking? I can’t pull this off,” Jason said to his choreographer.
But pull it off he did. Together, he and his team created one of the most memorable performances in the history of figure skating.
Watch Jason’s performance below. Prepare to be completely gobsmacked. Be sure to scroll down after you watch the video to learn more about Jason and his future.
Figure Skating Was Supposed to Be a Fun Hobby for Jason
Jason first fell in love with the sport of figure skating because his older sister was a figure skater and he wanted to be like her. When he saw her in an ice show, he was mesmerized by the costumes and light.
— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) February 25, 2016
His mom agreed to allow him to get started with figure skating lessons when he five years old. At the same time, his coach, Kori Ade, taught him more than just skating, spins, jumps, and footwork. In fact, he credits his coach with teaching him important life lessons.
“She was a holistic coach. When they were little, she taught them to look a person in the eye when you talk to them, to shake hands,” Jason’s mother, Marla explained to ESPN. “From my perspective as a parent, I was just as impressed with how she was raising my child as a quality human being as much as teaching ice skating.”
After training for several years in Chicago, Jason, his coach, and his choreographer moved to Monument, Colorado to train at the famous Colorado Sports Center.
Jason’s mom, Marla, recalls that Jason’s early days of figure skating began purely as a hobby. Olympic medals were the furthest thing from her mind.
“Jason was little and it just started as a fun activity like gymnastics and soccer.”
A Normal Childhood
While many figure skaters relocate for world-renowned coaches and advanced training, Jason’s parents were completely opposed to that option. They wanted him to have a normal childhood, not one that was dominated by his sport. Specifically, he stayed in Chicago and finished high school there.
Without them, there would be no me!! ❤️👪 Happy Anniversary to the 🤴 & 👸 of my life!! I love you 😘 結婚記念日おめでとう! pic.twitter.com/oWDgQGlxuu
— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) December 28, 2019
After graduating from high school, Jason and his parents moved to Colorado Springs to prepare for the Olympics in Sochi. Moreover, Jason is grateful for that decision.
“Looking back on it, I’m so unbelievably grateful that my parents stuck to their guns,” he told Medill. “That support system — that would have been something I would have lacked if I would have been away.”
In high school, Jason excelled at his studies and won notable awards for his academic excellence. Now that he does figure skating full-time, he’s at the ring for at least eight to ten hours per day.
Jason Brown’s Figure Skating Future
Since his Olympic performance, Jason has suffered some injuries that have slowed his career a bit, including a 2016 back injury and a right fibula stress fracture. But even with his injuries, he finished third in nationals and earned a spot in the 2017 World Championships.
— U.S. Figure Skating (@USFigureSkating) January 25, 2020
According to NBC Sports, Jason Brown is working towards competing in the 2022 Olympics. We anticipate enjoying the figure skating this young man brings to us for years to come and who knows? Maybe he’ll do some more routines in the style of Riverdance.
Featured image: screengrab from embedded video