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  1. #1

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    Abbott on future: 'I have a lot still to offer the sport'

    Four-time U.S. champion considers legacy, finances in making decision
    Posted 4/8/14 by Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork
    http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2014/04/08/71347104

    Excerpt:
    Strong performances at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships, plus an adoring response from the 18,000-strong crowd in Saitama, Japan, has Jeremy Abbott asking: "Should I stay or should I go?"

    "It kind of rekindled my love of competition," Abbott said at Figure Skating in Harlem's annual "Skating with the Stars" gala at Central Park's Trump Rink on Monday. "All of worlds was fantastic, and the audience was absolutely magical. I'm thinking, 'I could maybe do this again.'"
    ...
    Abbott's team at the Detroit Skating Club, headed by primary coach Yuka Sato, is supportive.

    "Ultimately, it's my decision, but Yuka told me when we were still in Japan, 'Don't make a decision now. ... Really just think about it. Regardless of what you do, I will support it, but take your time,'" Abbott said.

    "And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to get through [the Stars on Ice] tour and then take three to four weeks off to just rest my body and recover from this long, long season, and then really think about what I want to do."
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  2. #2

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    Oh dear.

    Another rinse-and-repeat from Abbott is just plain depressing. Blech.

  3. #3
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    In the IceNetwork article, Jeremy mentions finances as part of his decision process, but makes no mention of working part time, aside from skating shows, to support his own skating (SOI tour this year, as well as a few other shows should help cover some expenses I would imagine). I'm truly curious as to the percentage of elite skaters who work part time jobs to support their own skating; ie do they coach or do choreo, or work at a local restaurant, etc? He mentions that he took on the expense of using a sports psychologist, a trainer, etc, (don't most elite skaters have these same expenses?) but his Performance Enchancement Tracking funding from USFS thru the USOC is intended to help cover those costs. Way, way back....I seem to recall a discussion on the cost of ice at DSC for the US National team...do they get discounted ice time?

    I get that Jeremy is without sponsors, as he states in the IN article. Does he work with an agent/manager of some sort? Can they help with finding some sort of sponsorship deal? Sponsors also require time away from training...doing PR events, etc. Does Jeremy have the ability to juggle these kinds of responsibilities? Is Jeremy implying that finances are one of THE crucial factors in his decision to continue?

    Realized that there are an awful lot of ????? in the above. ;-)
    Whatever Jeremy decides, Yuka is right. He needs to take time to make the right decision for him.

  4. #4

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    Well, you're free not to watch him or not to watch the event at all if it depresses you so much. It's his decision and if he does decide to continue to compete I'll look forward to seeing him skate again.

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    I think a lot of people's fear with Abbott continuing is that judges will prop him up over some of the US's newer skaters and deny them the oppourtunity to compete on the big level. I don't think that's the case anymore...with the emergence of skaters like Jason Brown and the like, there's a lot more internal competition. I think Jeremy will find it a lot more difficult to make it onto major teams or get the kind of scores he's used to if he can't keep it together.

    Ultimately though, if Jeremy CAN go out and deliver a season of clean performances, why would that ever be a bad thing?

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    Wasn't there an issue post-2002 with Todd Eldredge making similar comments about potentially continuing and getting some negative blowback from the USFSA? Everyone (including the USFSA) has been operating under the assumption that this was the end of Abbott's career.

    He has four National titles, no international success and yet he wonders why he doesn't have sponsors? That entire section read as extremely tone deaf and sheltered to me. This isn't 1994. There isn't a lot of money to go around and he has no name recognition because he has produced no international results. If his USFSA/USOC money covers less than half of his expenses then I would assume his family covers the other half, as Jeremy does not have a job and I've never heard of him coaching or choreographing on the side (for $). Sounds in this article like he is fishing for a sponsor or wealthy benefactor...

  7. #7
    I <3 Kozuka
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    The post-Olympic mind-changing is in full force, as always.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

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    then I would assume his family covers the other half
    Wouldn't you think show/competition earnings cover a good portion?
    He got a bronze at NHK- that's $9,000. He had better results last year on the GP, so he should have gotten money for both competitions (they only pay to 5th place, he placed 6th at his other this year.)
    and 5th at Worlds gets $10,000.
    I'm sure his agent takes a cut (but that is part of the expenses of an agent), not sure if USFS does.
    No idea what shows earn, but he seems to do a good number of them.

  9. #9
    ...an acquired taste
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    Jeremy Who?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Wouldn't you think show/competition earnings cover a good portion?
    He got a bronze at NHK- that's $9,000. He had better results last year on the GP, so he should have gotten money for both competitions (they only pay to 5th place, he placed 6th at his other this year.)
    and 5th at Worlds gets $10,000.
    I'm sure his agent takes a cut (but that is part of the expenses of an agent), not sure if USFS does.
    No idea what shows earn, but he seems to do a good number of them.
    Really 5th at Worlds gets $10,000? How far down do they give out prize money?

  11. #11
    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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    oh Jeremy, still providing the lolz
    Q: Why can't I read the competition threads?
    A: Competition forums on the board are available to those with a Season Pass or a premium membership How to View Kiss & Cry

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Wouldn't you think show/competition earnings cover a good portion?
    He got a bronze at NHK- that's $9,000. He had better results last year on the GP, so he should have gotten money for both competitions (they only pay to 5th place, he placed 6th at his other this year.)
    and 5th at Worlds gets $10,000.
    I'm sure his agent takes a cut (but that is part of the expenses of an agent), not sure if USFS does.
    No idea what shows earn, but he seems to do a good number of them.

    When you're doing the math in your head please remember that you are quoting before tax winnings - after tax amounts are quite different. Since Jeremy had a physio traveling to comps with him this past season, there's a lot of money right there (salary, travel expenses, per diem, etc.) just for one professional on his team. His annual costs this past year had to be very high and those costs are paid, after USFSA and USOC fees, in his after tax dollars. His agent may take a percentage of shows (which really don't pay what they used to in the late 90's and early 00's although the money is still decent) and USFSA takes, I believe, nothing.

  13. #13
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    When you're doing the math in your head please remember that you are quoting before tax winnings
    If Jeremy's job is 'figure skating' he can likely expense most of those things you mentioned, so he probably ends up having quite a low tax liability (barely breaking even, if not losing money). Then again, there are only so many years the IRS lets you deduct before they call it a hobby...

    I have no doubt Jeremy's costs are high- Chan quoted his at $80k-100k, right? But the point is, he does have earnings, so it isn't completely up to his family to shoulder the burden.

    Chan, however, has had a lot of international success, so he is probably making money past those expenses. Jeremy, unfortunately, seems to be best at winning nationals- which doesn't have prize money.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauren329 View Post
    Really 5th at Worlds gets $10,000? How far down do they give out prize money?
    http://www.isu.org/en/single-and-pai...aitama-preview
    12th place it looks like

  15. #15

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    I don’t know where I was reading, maybe the SOI thread – somewhere said Sasha Cohen is going to college to get a job in finance. I wondered if the $$$ have dried up for even an Olympic Silver Medalist, so that a Zzzzzz finance job would ultimately be more lucrative. Jeremy should maybe consider that.
    What would Jenny do?

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    Sasha said quite a long time ago that she is interested in finance and finds it fascinating. On the higher levels it is indeed fascinating. She clearly understands that the earning power of an aging (we all get a year older every year) elite skater is a rather steep downhill ride especially as the opportunities are shrinking. She is getting a fine education to move on to a second career that can support her life going forward. Very smart of her but not every skater's choice.

    Even the largest and highest earning names in skating - Kwan, Boitano, Hamilton - have found second careers or business extensions of their first careers to keep life interesting and earning power up.

    Most elite skaters need an Act II. Some have the talent and ability to stay in sport (coaching, choreography, etc.); others move on to new interests taking their discipline and determination with them. Making the transition from highly visible star athlete to something far less public with far less applause is a big challenge.
    Last edited by Willowway; 04-08-2014 at 08:58 PM.

  17. #17

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    He choreographed a masterpiece of a LP! I am sure he could be a great choreographer if he chooses that path.

  18. #18
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    but Yuka told me when we were still in Japan, 'Don't make a decision now. ... Really just think about it. Regardless of what you do, I will support it, but take your time,'"
    Code for: you are high on the applause now. In two weeks when the high wears off, you'll change your mind again.

    Really, Abbott has never said or done anything to make me believe he truly enjoys competing. So every couple of years he has a wonderful performance in a competition? That's not enough to build a competitive career on. He's really a skater very suited for touring and he's reached the point in his career where people will pay him to tour. Sounds like it's time to join a few tours and skate in some shows!
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

  19. #19
    I <3 Kozuka
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    There's a difference between a for-profit business, where losses can be deducted against other income, a not-for-profit* business with enough losses to not qualify as a for-profit business, where losses cannot be deducted again other income, vs a hobby, where losses are limited to over 2% of AGI up to income earned from that hobby.

    If all of his income is from figure skating, were the IRS to classify skating as a hobby, he can itemize anything over 2% of his AGI as a miscellaneous expense, up to the amount of the money earned from figure skating. Example: were he to have earned $50K through shows and prize money, he would be able to itemize all expenses incurred in the taxable year over $1000 (50K * 2%) up to the $50K. If he earned $100K in total, he could itemize everything over $2000 up to $100K worth of expenses. That is before his personal exemption.

    If he were to work selling ice cream, in an office, etc. that income couldn't be offset by hobby or not-for-profit* business expenses. Giving lessons might be considered part of the business of being a skater, if he's an independent contractor.

    *The IRS definition.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFOS View Post
    Well, you're free not to watch him or not to watch the event at all if it depresses you so much. It's his decision and if he does decide to continue to compete I'll look forward to seeing him skate again.
    This!

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