Five years ago in this very building Brady Tennell realized a lifelong dream.
At just 19 years old, the Chicago native captured United States Figure Skating Championships crown and validated the ticket to PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympicswhere she would be in ninth place.
Three years later, Tennell won a second American title on the eve of the Olympic season.
However, a persistent foot injury turned into a completely debilitating injury, and a series of treatments could not resolve the problem. She missed the entire Olympic season.
On Thursday evening (January 26), she rode almost perfectly, taking a podium finish – and one step away from gold – after a difficult return to the ice in the first half of the season, when she finished 8th and 12th at her two Grands Prix. Prix ??stops
“I spent so much of last year dreaming about it,” said Tennell, who will turn 25 next week. “Being in the moment is a bit surreal, so I take it all in. I trust my hard work will show up.”
Tennell made a big change in life and skating also during her time away from competition: She moved to France train with a famous choreographer Benoit Richaudas well as Cedric tourin Nice.
“It’s been a long road back,” she continued. “I don’t know if I would say I’m grateful for the experience – it was very, very difficult – but I’m grateful for the perspective that I was able to gain and that I have now.”
“I spent so much of last year dreaming about it. It’s kind of surreal to be in that moment, so I’m taking it personally. I trust my hard work will show.”
Bradie Tennell: “I can’t put [the last year] in words
Tennell’s favorite trails Isabella Levito by 0.02 points for the free skate, 73.78 points to 73.76. The 15-year-old Levito won three silver medals in the Grand Prix series this year.
But Tennell has the experience, saying she’s “all about longevity” in figure skating, which has traditionally been dominated by teenagers in women’s singles. After Beijing 2022, International Skating Union (ISU) voted to raise the minimum age for skaters at the senior international level, which it was gradually moving toward Milan Cortina 2026.
Tennell hopes to build on her younger self and win gear here again.
“It’s great to be back on the Nationals ice, especially in this arena,” she said of San Jose. “It was like coming full circle for me; This is where my skating craze began.
Tennell described the last year as “traumatic” and something she is still mentally working on.
“The word I use for the last year of my life is traumatic because it’s the only way I know how to describe it,” she said.
“I can’t put [what happened] in words, she added. “You literally work your whole life, you make so many sacrifices, and so does your family. It takes a whole village to bring one athlete to the Olympics. Suddenly, without a choice of your own, without a specific action, your whole life – everything you held in your hands – crumbles to sand, and you don’t know why.
Regardless of her performance on Friday night, there is no indication that Tennell is moving away from the sport, especially after the year she has just tackled it.
“I am all for longevity in this sport. I believe the older you get, the more experience you have and the more you can bring to the table. I feel like that’s what I’m aiming for, especially in the artistic part of skating, where I feel like I’ve recovered.”