Jeremy Abbott's close call at nationals

BOSTON -- And you think the women's figure skating team selection process was messy? Just think what it would have been like had the crowd not bailed out Jeremy Abbott just seconds before his performance in the free program Sunday.

Competing at his final national championship, Abbott was busy taking in the entire experience and atmosphere while time to take position on the ice was ticking down. As the time came dangerously close to running out, the crowd began loudly counting down, "Five, four, three, two ..."

"I thought, 'Why is everyone counting?'" Abbott said. "Then I realized, 'That's the time left!'"

Abbott said he voiced a couple frantic swear words under his breath as he raced to center ice where he took position for his routine just as time was about to run out.

"That was really cutting it close and I'm glad I was ready enough to go," Abbott said. "I was really frantic getting there and I was like, 'God, I hope I'm ready.' Then the music came on and it was just like being back home in the rink and it was fine."

U.S. Figure Skating president Patricia St. Peter confirmed that under competition rules, Abbott would have been disqualified had he not made it to his starting position in time. Since Abbott won his fourth national title with his performance this weekend, U.S. Figure Skating must be breathing a tremendous sigh of relief that a disqualification of its top skater did not interfere with the selection process.