By Brian Trusdell | March 23, 2015, 12:24 p.m. (ET)
Joshua Farris competes in the men's free skate at the 2015 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Greensboro Coliseum on Jan. 25, 2015 in Greensboro, N.C.  


Joshua Farris knows exactly where his season turned.

Coming off the ice after the free skate at the NHK Trophy competition in Osaka, Japan, Farris put his head in his hands, his fingers shielding his face. During his free skate he fell early, made single jumps out of doubles and was painfully aware of his failure.

“I was sitting in the stands, away from everybody else, because I was embarrassed,” he said. “I was sitting with my coach, Damon (Allen), watching the rest of the competition, and I told him ‘I never want that to happen again. Ever.’

“That was the moment that propelled me.”

It pushed him to the point where he redoubled his training effort, working out two-to-three times a week and on his program twice a day. The result was a third-place finish at the U.S. championships in January in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Two weeks later, he moved up a step on the medal podium at the Four Continents Championships in South Korea, his highest finish at a senior international assignment, giving him a stiff wind at his back heading into the world championships next week in Shanghai, China.


Joshua Farris poses on the podium at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2015 at the Mokdong Ice Rink on Feb. 14, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.

“The past two competitions I’ve treated differently,” he said. “I took them as separate. I was successful at both, so I’m going to treat worlds the same way, meaning I need to treat worlds differently than Four Continents and nationals.”

After he finished fourth at the U.S. championships the previous two years, expectations were growing for Farris entering this past season. But he had to pull out of the Cup of China in Shanghai in November with a high ankle sprain. Then came the NHK Trophy three weeks later.

Finishing last of 11 competitors — in both the short program and the free skate — Farris had to accept some reality.

“A lot of things happened,” the 20-year-old native of Renton, Washington, said. “The main thing that happened was I kind of had to grow up a little a bit. I think there were some things that I was being immature about, training wise. Not that I didn't respect the sport, but I had to gain more respect for it.”

Farris is considerably younger than most of his U.S. rivals: Jeremy Abbott, 29, Adam Rippon, 25, Ross Miner, 24, and Max Aaron, 23. Even newly crowned U.S. champion Jason Brown, 20, is three weeks older than Farris.

He realizes he's coming up from behind.

That is especially true on the world stage.

“I obviously don't have as much experience as they do on the top,” Farris said. “I’m new to being in the top 10, or whatever, I don't know. I think eventually, give me like a year or so, and I will be fighting for that podium just as they are, just as they are.”

Confidence seems key to Farris’ performance. It was a factor in recovering from NHK Trophy, working with his sports psychologist to rebuild.

Coming off Four Continents, Farris had decided on adding a quadruple jump into his short program. He had been practicing the quad before nationals and Four Continents and was definitely prepared to add one. But he broke a skate blade and bent his sole. He had to break in new skates, and the quads weren’t as smooth, or at least he didn't think so.

He feels he's regained his form, but apparently not enough.

“For my world debut, I would like to go in confident and feeling ready just the same as Four Continents and nationals, so we decided to take the quad out of the program,” he said.

Regardless, Farris has a momentum, one that he feels others in the skating world have noticed.

“I think it will influence me in a positive way,” he said about his surge in the last two months. "I got my name out there in a positive way on the senior level.”

Brian Trusdell has covered four FIFA World Cups and six Olympic Games during his more than 30 years as a sportswriter, mostly with the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.