Out Skater Jason Brown Pushes to Be Best Version of Self

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday April 28, 2022
Originally published on April 26, 2022

Jason Brown
Jason Brown  (Source:Instagram)

When out ice skater Jason Brown first broke into world rankings in 2010, he placed at 71st. Since then the Olympian has risen in the standing, placing in the top ten for the last seven years; even placing second in 2021. Over his career he has medaled six times at the US Figure Skating Championships, including each of the last three years. He won his first gold medal at the 2015 championship, although he also won gold as a junior in the 2010 event. And last year Brown won 2021 Finlandia Trophy, which made him the fourth American to win the trophy since its inception in 1995, and the first since Nathan Chen in 2016.

He made the U.S. Olympic team in 2014, where he was one of the youngest skaters to win a medal. (He won bronze.) But after not making the team four years later, he moved to Canada to work with a new set of coaches — Brian Orser, Tracy Wilson and Karen Preston in Toronto, and trained for six to seven hours a day, five days a week. He made the 2022 team, where he impressed the judges and the world with his emotional performance to the theme from "Schindler's List" by John Williams. Prior to the recent games, Brown said: "To go to those two extremes from being the youngest to being the oldest on the team, I think I come with a lot of experience and a lot of maturity. I'm excited to take everything that I've learned along the way and really apply it.".

Jason Brown
Jason Brown  

Back from the Games, Brown is currently touring as part of "Stars on Ice," which is touring the country through May 29, stopping in Boston on April 30 at Agganis Arena. (For dates on the tour, click here.)

Amongst the performers are Olympic Champion Nathan Chen, Olympic Bronze Medalists Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, Olympic Team Silver Medalists Madison Chock & Evan Bates, Karen Chen, Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier and Vincent Zhou, 2022 Olympic team members Jason Brown, Alysa Liu And Mariah Bell, and 2018 Olympic Bronze Medalist Mirai Nagasu.

Known for his infectious personality and unique style, Jason has become a fan favorite and
household name in the figure skating community. EDGE spoke to him about skating, the tour and his coming out in IG.

Jason Brown
Jason Brown  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: When did you know you wanted to be a professional skater?

Jason Brown: I have always loved sports. I played a lot of sports growing up. I was involved in gymnastics, little league, soccer and skating. I did cross country in middle school, and I performed in all the school musicals. I know musicals are not a sport, but I really enjoyed performing. I played in a soccer tournament, and we lost in the finals and my whole team was really upset and I didn't understand why. I just thought: 'it's a soccer game.' I really didn't understand their emotional attachment to it until about a week later when I was at a skating competition. I made a few mistakes and I was devastated. It was then when I realized the connection to the sport. That's when I really become passionate about skating. I really wanted to see how far I could go in it.

EDGE: How do you sustain your passion for skating?

Jason Brown: I've been very fortunate because I'm intrinsically motivated, plus I've had some incredible coaches along the way that have pushed me to be my best. My coaches have always pushed me to try to skate to different pieces of music and different genres while helping to get me out of my comfort zone. I'm always working towards something new and different which keeps my skating fresh and exciting. I am always creating my own goals year to year to help keep me motivated. I've been really fortunate that my parents have continued to always believe in me and to always push me to be the best version of myself.

Jason Brown
Jason Brown  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: As a performer, how do you approach your program?

Jason Brown: I always start with either an emotion or a story and pair that to a piece of music that I really want to explore. Since I skate the same program for an entire year, I really need to feel connected to it. You want to do something that not only you can connect to, but something that the audience will connect to as well. I'm always trying to connect and impact the audience through my program. If I bring a smile to their face or a tear to their eyes than that emotional connection makes me so happy.

EDGE: Congratulations placing sixth at the Winter Olympics. How did you celebrate?

Jason Brown: We were still in the midst of COVID, so there wasn't too much celebrating. Once I got home, I was able to celebrate with my close family. We had a really nice dinner and a small celebration. It was nice to just all get together again with family and friends. I really missed that connection.

Jason Brown
Jason Brown  

EDGE: What does competing at the Olympics mean to you?

Jason Brown: It's a pretty special time. It's one of those things where I've always felt that you have to really love the process and you have to love every step along the way. I think the Olympics is almost more of like a celebration of everything that you've done and all the hard work that you've put into it. For me, it's the opportunity of getting to give back to all the people that helped get me there. All the Olympians are at the top of their game and get to share all their hard work and the love of the sport with the world. Most importantly for me, it was being able to say thank you to every single person that have helped me along my journey to get me to that point. I just can't thank them enough.

EDGE: This is your fourth tour with "Stars on Ice." What excites you most about performing in the show?

Jason Brown: I always love performing with Stars on Ice, It's such a special show with some great history. I love touring with my teammates. What makes this tour so special is that we haven't gotten to really perform in front of audiences in a few years. So, we are all just so excited to have this opportunity again. Even at the Olympics, we weren't in front of the normal audience, so getting to be a part of this post-Olympic tour is amazing. We will be stopping in 24 different cities around the US. I am excited to be sharing my heart and soul with the audience. There's nothing like the amazing energy and excitement that we receive from the fans.

Jason Brown
Jason Brown  (Source: Associated Press)

EDGE: Did you feel the need to come out and why choose Instagram as the messaging platform? 

Jason Brown: That's a great question. I think it took me so long to come out publicly because I really didn't think I needed to. I didn't think it was a big deal. I wasn't raised to feel like it was a big deal. I never felt like I was trying to hide who I was. I always felt like I could be who I was and be whomever I wanted to be. I don't think it was ever something that really gave much thought until the summer of 2020. Everyone was having these really open and honest conversations about what they experienced and for me, it was a jarring moment of realizing how far we still had to go. I couldn't believe how much people were still struggling with being who they are and even feeling like they could be accepted for their identity.

I felt this need to be open about who I am and to thank everyone that came before me and normalized being queer. I just wanted to be another voice that helps normalize being queer. I always felt so loved since the day I came out and my life hasn't changed at all. No one should have to struggle, feel alone, or be treated differently ever. I chose Instagram for two reasons: The message was coming directly from me and it was on my own platform. It was my message and no one else's. We need to help change the narrative for the ones who are still struggling and show them love and give them support.

EDGE: What can fans expect from the show?

Jason Brown: I think everyone is in for a real awesome treat. You're going to see a lot of great skating. Performing in this tour is the newly crowned Olympic champion, Nathan Chen, along with Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who just won bronze. This year, we have a lot of great skaters. Its going to be a great night of skating with a lot of laughs and some amazing solo and group numbers. Like I mentioned earlier in this interview, we're just so excited to have the opportunity to be back in front of a crowd and perform.

"Stars on Ice" will be performing at the Agganis Arena on April 30, 2022. https://www.agganisarena.com/ For more information about Jason and to purchase tickets to Stars on Ice visit, https://www.starsonice.com/

Check out these pics from Brown's IG: