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Goebel is the first skater to perform a quadruple salchow jump and the first American skater to perform a quadruple jump of any kind. Goebel is also the first skater to perform three quadruple jumps in one program. At the 2002 Olympics, he became the first skater to land a quadruple salchow jump in combination at the Olympics. He is the first and so far only skater to land 6 quadruple jumps in one competition.
He has landed 76 career quadruple jumps, the most of any skater.
Because of these things, he was nicknamed the Quad King. However, after the 2003-2004, Goebel began having problems with the quad. He did not land it correctly at all in the 2005-2006 season.
Goebel won the bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics. It was a close call for the silver between him and World Champion Evgeni Plushenko. That would happen again at the 2003 World Championships where Plushenko beat Goebel out for the gold.
Goebel dealt with injuries in later seasons. An injury forced him to not finish competing at the 2004 Nationals and give up on the rest of the season. At the 2005 Nationals, the mother of Angela Nikodinov, a good friend of Goebel, died in a car crash. Goebel spent much of time at that competition in mourning. With Nikodinov watching, Goebel started crying partly through his free skate. He finished the performance in tears. He placed 2nd.
Goebel was not able to qualify for the 2006 Olympic team. He retired from competitive skating after the 2006 Nationals. In May 2010, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Columbia University's School of General Studies. He works as a technical specialist, the person who watches a skating program and tells the judges what each move was and how difficult it was.
During his career, Goebel was known mainly as a "jumping bean", a skater whose skating is mostly jumps. But Goebel worked hard to change this. His free skate in the 2002 season was the best of his career and led Goebel to a different kind of artistry.