After seven years of competing at the U.S.Championships, Grant Hochstein broke through and had an incredible performance at the 2016 U.S. Championships earning him a standing ovation following his free skate. He missed the podium, coming in fourth and for a moment it looked like he would also miss making the World Team. Just when it looked like his season was over, Nathan Chen who came in third place, was injured during the exhibition at the U.S. Championships. Being in fourth place, Grant was the alternate and became part of the World Team, thus fulfilling one of his long-awaited dreams.
Grant Hochstein trains with Nathan and was sad to see him injured, yet at the same time he was excited for the opportunity that now lies before him. “It’s kind of been a breakthrough year for me,” Grant admitted on a media call on March 22. “Through the Grand Prix season it really built my confidence and made me feel again like I was contender.” Hochstein was surprised to see that he had received one Grand Prix assignment at the start of the season, as his last one was back in 2010 where he finished in tenth place. Grant took advantage of the opportunity given to him this season and finished in fourth place at the Cup of China and due to the withdrawal of Jason Brown, Grant also got to compete at the NHK Trophy where he again finished in fourth.
Hochstein continues to prove his value, becoming one of the more steady U.S. male skaters. One of the things that differentiates Grant from the rest of the U.S. mens’ field is that he has a fairly consistent quad toe and a strong component score. Grant attributes his success to his coach who has helped him with mental training and helped him to find his competitive drive once again. He continues to work on his quad toe and has changed the technique of the jump just a bit which has apparently made quite a difference. Grant keeps track of how often he lands the jump in practice and when pressed, confirmed it was more than fifty percent of the time.
Some had wondered if Grant would continue in the sport, but after the season he has had he seems more sure of what he wants his future to hold. “As the season’s built I’ve rediscovered things about myself and my skating and how much I want it, how much I’m capable of, so I definitely want to finish out this Olympic cycle and give it my best shot for a spot on the Olympic Team,” Hochstein said. “I want to give myself every opportunity I can to accomplish this dream and I’m honored to have a chance to do that at Worlds, accomplish another dream.”
Many do not expect much from Grant at the World Championships, but he has been the dark horse all season quietly climbing his way up in the world standings. He struggled at the Four Continents Championships, finishing in eighth place, but he was sick at that event and not in top form coming off of Nationals. Now after a few more weeks of training he feels ready and excited to take in every moment in Boston. “Four Continents was the reward for my hard work and the consistency that I’ve had this season, so Worlds for me is kind of the icing on top of the cake,” Grant said. “I want to feel like I’m contributing to the U.S. men, hopefully getting three spots again for next year. I’m kind of the rookie going in, but I want to feel like I’m doing my part and I’m pulling my weight for our team.”
Having been in the sport longer than most, Hochstein understands the value of this moment and is ready to make the most of his experience at the World Figure Skating Championships. He not only has friends and family coming to the event, but even some of his students that he coaches will be in attendance as well. “I want to take in every possible moment of it,” Grant said. “You never know how many chances you’re going to get. I want to enjoy it, and I plan on doing just that.”