What Can You Sacrifice?


American Figure Skater, Jason Brown, placed sixth in the men’s singles short program at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. He’s received massive amounts of praise and is widely revered as an all-time great. This is not because of his impressive flips or tricks, but rather his beautiful artistry on the ice.

Brown is more concerned with the art behind his performances than the flips that help him score points. At the Olympics, figure skating is scored based on a combination of points in a scoring system called the International Judging System or IJS. The IJS incorporates a technical score and program components. Figure skaters perform a short program and a long program or a free skate. The skaters with the highest score win.

The Technical Score is about the various moves and tricks the skater does. Each skill is judged from 1-4. 1 is least difficult and 4 is most difficult to execute. The Program Components’ Score consists of five criteria: skating skills, transitions/linking footwork & movement, performance/execution, choreography/composition, and interpretation of music.

Jason Brown is much more concerned with the Program Components’ Score. His short program was Nina Simone’s song, Sinnerman. Nina Simone is a Black singer and songwriter who was one of the most influential artists of the Civil Rights Movement. Brown focused his piece on the fluidity of his movements to express as much emotion as he could. With the increasing technical ability of world-class figure skaters, the artistic element of figure skating is starting to feel left behind. Brown is working to counter that and trying to be as much a performer as a skater: “I have the utmost respect for what those guys are doing to push the sport technically. I’m just in absolute awe, and I wish I could be one of them as well. But I am going to push the sport in my way.”

It is important we celebrate figures such as Jason Brown, who work their entire lives to get somewhere and sacrifice it for what they believe in. Figures like Colin Kaepernick, who hasn’t been able to get a spot on an NFL roster after he kneeled during the National Anthem almost 6 years ago on September 1, 2016. NBA players that replaced the name on their jersey with a message that was important to them in the “NBA Bubble”. People like these who use their platform to advocate for disenfranchised people should be what we all aspire to be.