Chris Mascaro
Friday February 14th, 2014

Jeremy Abbott (Brian Cassella/Getty Images) Jeremy Abbott is a four-time national champion but has struggled internationally. (Brian Cassella/Getty Images)

Jeremy Abbott has been labeled a choker because of his various falls in international competition, including one in his short program on Thursday.

But the 28-year-old skated through pain on Friday in his free skate, earning a personal-best score in international competition of 160.12. He finished in 12th place.

After his skate, Abbott shouted "yes," and then proceeded to respond to his critics.

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He first apologized for what he was about to say to Barb Reichert of U.S. Figure Skating public relations — who told him to "bring it" — and then he unleashed.

"I would just hold my middle finger in the air and say a big 'F you' to everyone who has ever said that to me because they have never stood in my shoes," he told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports.

"They've never had to do what I had to do. Nobody has to stand center ice before a million people and put an entire career on the line for eight minutes of their life when they've been doing it for 20 some years. And if you don't think that that's not hard, you're a damn idiot.

"So some people can handle it better than others, but everyone has that mental struggle, everyone goes through the same doubts. I am not alone. They just come at different times and different moments. Some people have their moment at the Olympics and some have theirs at the national championships.

"I'm proud to be standing here. I'm a four-time national champion and a two-time Olympian, and no one can take that away from me. So whatever people have to say about me, that's their own problem because I'm freaking proud of what I've done, and I'm not going to apologize for any of it."

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