Bradie Tennell Withdraws from
Guaranteed Rate Skate America Due to Foot Injury
Starr Andrews to step into her place
by Liz Leamy
(20 October 2021) Bradie Tennell, the tenacious Chicago-area
native who catapulted to the top of the elite global skating
scene several years ago when she claimed bronze at the 2017
Skate America Championships and then the 2018 U.S. title to
qualify for the 2018 Olympics, had been looking forward to
another memorable experience at the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Skate
America yet, due to a foot injury, announced her withdrawal from
Tennell, the reigning U.S. champion whose
spot will now be taken by Starr Andrews of California, had been
training intensively at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado
Springs with Tom Zakrajsek, the World and Olympic coach, over
the past year in preparation for the upcoming Olympic season.
During the summer months, however, she was
said to have been dealing with some issues with this aspect of
her physical well-being.
Still, Tennell had been looking forward to
the idea of being able to compete at this famous international
“I’m so excited to be going back to Las
Vegas and very excited to be starting the Olympic season at that
venue,” said Tennell, who clinched the 2021 U.S. title at the
Orleans Arena last January in a media teleconference several
weeks ago. “I’m looking forward to the competition and grateful
to have had all the time I’m on the ice. I’m enjoying every
This season, Tennell, 23, who will be
skating to a tango for her short and a ‘heartfelt musical piece’
for the long program, both of which were choreographed by Benoit
Richard, has been trying to stay as focused possible on training
in preparation the Olympic season.
“There’s nothing like the Olympics to bring
the world together and celebrate sportsmanship at a global
level,” said Tennell, a top ten finisher at the 2018 Olympics
and also at the 2018, 2019 and 2021 World Championships. “The
best thing for my mindset is to stay focused on myself and
focused on what I can control.”
Known for her dedication and intensive
daily work regiment, Tennell said she still gets chills when her
name is announced at competitions, especially when it is
accompanied by the fact that she is representing the United
“I still get chills when they announce my
name representing the United States of America,” said Tennell,
who was the 2019 U.S. silver and 2020 U.S. bronze medalist,
respectively. “I can still remember [at the 2018 U.S.
Championships] when they announced my name. The crowd was
clapping so loudly and it is a memory that still brings a smile
to my face. That’s what makes this sport so much fun.”
Tennell said she also still surprised and
honored when she is recognized.
“It startles me all the time,” said Tennell,
who said she was recently approached by a young skater at the
Broadmoor World Arena who was excited to meet her, which she
described as ‘a real honor.’
Tennell, who added that she likes to stay
off of social media in order to further stay focused on the
training tasks at hand, expressed gratitude for the support of
her family, coach and others who have helped her through this
“I’ve gotten so much support from my team
and my family because without them, I wouldn’t be in this
position,” said Tennell.
The ladies roster at Skate America, in
addition to Starr Andrews, will feature Amber Glenn of Plano,
Texas, the 2021 U.S. silver medalist; Alexandra Trusova, the
2021 Russian World bronze medalist and Satoko Miyahara of Japan
who was fourth at the 2018 Olympics,
Initial Covid Policies for Beijing Winter Games Announced
(30 September 2021)
The International Olympic Committee held an Executive
Board meeting September 29, 2021, in the presence of the International Paralympic
2022 informed the Executive Board of the principles that will help deliver safe and
successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as scheduled.
The principles presented by Beijing 2022 will be detailed in
documents referred to as
Playbooks. The first version of these Playbooks will be released
in late October 2021. A second version will then be published in
The following preliminary principles were announced by the
All athletes and Games participants who are fully
vaccinated will enter the closed-loop management system
upon arrival. Games participants who are not fully
vaccinated will have to serve a 21-day quarantine upon
arrival in Beijing.
Athletes who can provide a justified medical exemption
will have their cases considered.
All vaccines recognized by WHO or related international
organizations, or approved officially by the countries
or regions concerned, will be accepted.
Games-time closed-loop management
From 23 January until the end of the Paralympics, a
closed-loop management system will be implemented to
ensure the safe delivery of the Games. This closed-loop
management system will cover all Games-related areas,
including arrival and departure, transport,
accommodation, catering, competitions, and the Opening
and Closing Ceremonies. Within the closed loop,
participants will be allowed to move only between
Games-related venues for training, competitions and
work. A dedicated Games transport system will be put in
Tickets will be sold exclusively to spectators residing
in China’s mainland, who meet the requirements of the
Specific requirements on COVID-19 countermeasures for
spectators from China’s mainland and the details of
ticketing arrangements are under discussion and
development, and will be released to the public in due
course once they are finalized.
Accredited guest policy
Beijing 2022 and the IOC underlined that all activities
are being assessed and optimized to focus on essential
aspects of Games delivery. Stakeholders will apply this
principle for their plans and delegation composition.
In line with this principle, the IOC EB decided to
cancel the accompanying guest category for all
Beijing 2022 will assist those stakeholders that are not
in a position to book their pre-Games or Games-time
Besides athletes and some delegation officials who are
accompanying athletes living in the Villages, all
participants travelling to Beijing will reside in
Beijing 2022-contracted hotels that will be compliant
with the COVID-19 countermeasures for the Games.
All domestic and international Games participants and
workforce in the closed-loop management system will be
subject to daily testing.
What It Means
Participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to arrive
in Beijing three weeks earlier than they might have planned to
quarantine. This would seem to say unvaccinated athletes
would lose three weeks of training time prior to the games if
they cannot get an exemption - a disruption in training no
athlete can afford.
The closed loop management system appears it will be
organized as an extended "bubble," with participants confined to
official hotels, venues, food service locations and the official
transportation system. This would seem to preclude moving
about the city outside of the bubble at any time, starting with
arrival at the airport, and ending with departure at the end of
There will be daily testing of all participants. Where
and how this will be done is yet to be announced.
Participants will be required to stay in LOC-contracted
hotels. Anyone who booked a non-contracted hotel will now
have to try and obtain accommodations through the LOC, which is
something that needed to be completed at the beginning of the
year. This will no doubt induce sticker shock for some
media who attempted to save on the cost of accommodations by not
using LOC-contracted hotels. For example, earlier in the
year it was possible to book non-contracted hotels for less than
half the price of contracted hotels - in some cases a savings of
over $2000 (or more) for a 20 day stay at the games. The
LOC has announced adjustments to the accommodation booking and
cancellation policies to deal with expected cancellations and
Spectators from non-mainland China will be prohibited.
Rumors have swirled for several weeks concerning policies for
participats at the games. One of these was the 21 day
quarantine, which we now know applies to non-vaccinated
participants. Another rumor concerns details of the vaccination
policy, which we will not repeat, as the current policy
announcement seems quite clear that fully vaccinated
participants with WHO recognized vaccines will meet
One further rumor which we will repeat, is that media will
not be allowed to bring their cell phones and computers into the
country, and will be given LOC provided devices that will then
be returned at the end of the games.
When first hearing of this, the purpose was hard to
understand, but subsequently a news report out of Lithuania
provided a hint of what may be involved here.
Recently the government of Lithuania advised its country's
residents to stop using Chinese manufactured cell phones, as the
devices were found to censor hundreds of terms in internet use
that the Chines government finds objectionable. In
addition, the devices are said to provide usage information to a
server in Singapore, that is suspected of providing the usage
information to Chinese authorities.
Putting two and two together, it is reasonable to suspect the
purpose of the rumored games devices policy is to force all
media to use devices that have installed malware that will allow
Chinese authorities to monitor everything media say and do on
the devices during the games. We have no proof of this,
but it certainly sounds in-character for the Chinese government;
and if the policy is implemented, a reasonable person would
conduct themself assuming everything they do with the devices
will be monitored by Chinese authorities.
Bradley Lord’s 1961 U.S. Gold-Medal Winning Performance
A Template for the Ages
by Liz Leamy
(7 May 2021) In light of the fact that this past winter
marks the 60-year anniversary of the 1961 U.S. World figure
skating team who tragically lost their lives on the Sabena
Flight 548 crash near Brussels, Belgium on route to the World Figure
Skating Championships that February, it is enlightening,
inspirational and gratifying to learn about the incredible depth
and talent, as well as the touching personal stories of those
individuals who had been on that flight.
Bradley Lord, in particular, was a driven
and talented 21 year-old top American contender who represented
the Skating Club of Boston at the 1961 U.S. Championships in
Colorado Springs where he famously clinched his first U.S. title
with a remarkable free skate that still stands in terms of its
choreography, execution and overall layout.
Lord, who had been second in the figure
portion of that competition, held at the original Broadmoor
World Arena, triumphantly pulled up to the first place overall with
his electric program, edging out his talented rival, Gregory
Kelley, a 16 year-old Newton, Massachusetts native who was the
1959 U.S. junior champion who wound up claiming silver at the
1961 U.S. Championships to earn a spot on that U.S. World team.
Skating to an operatic medley of Pagliacci, La Taviata and
Sleeping Beauty, with visible determination, command
and strength, Lord, who came from a family of Italian descent
and lived in Swampscott, a North Shore coastline town nearly 15
miles north of Boston, demonstrated astonishing technical and
artistic aptitude as well as notable speed and energy throughout
his entire program, performing every primary turn and step
including rockers, counters, loops, Mohawks and Choctaws
performed in both directions, among other notable things.
At the same time, Lord does some
show stopping moves, including a back-to-front pivot with a
complete change of direction, clockwise-direction split jump (he
is a counter-clockwise jumper and spinner) and double loop
landed on a left-back inside edge, all of which generated
thunderous applause from the packed crowd at the Broadmoor
For Lord, it was all about doing his best.
“After I had skated, I felt I did the best
I could,” said Lord, who attended Boston University and had
wanted to eventually pursue a career in commercial art. “As long
as I had done [my] best, I was happy. I knew Greg [Kelley] was a
strong free skater and it all depended on how I did.”
Although this program dates all the way
back from 1961, and Lord’s technical content consisted of double
jumps (all of which were high, fast and technically solid), his
components were dazzling on all counts and could still stand in
Specifically, his connecting steps were
rich and complex, his skating skills were superior and his
choreography and presentation is intriguing, full of depth and
clear, powerful and effective in terms of its narrative and
messaging, rendering this program as a true template for much of
what the International Judging System stands for today.
Lord, who had placed fourth at the 1960
U.S. Championships and sixth at that year’s World Championships,
was coached by Montgomery ‘Bud’ Wilson, a Canadian Olympic
bronze medalist (who was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic military efforts
as an artillery officer during World War II) at the Skating Club
of Boston, who also did the choreography for this program as
Known as a ‘great guy and friend’ among his
peers at the storied Skating Club of Boston venue where he
trained all the way from the group lesson level up through the
National and World Championship level, Lord had faced some
struggles throughout his competitive career.
For one, he was said to have worked
extremely hard to pay for his skating expenses, and had taken
several aside jobs to help cover costs.
Further, Lord labored extremely hard to get
through the challenging eight U.S. Figure Skating school figure
tests, most of which did not come easy to him (or most anyone
else, for that matter).
At the same time, Lord worked dogmatically
to prepare to face off against Gregory Kelley, the formidable
young American international contender who was fifth at the 1960
U.S. Championships and ninth at the1960 Worlds.
Known for his terrific speed and high
jumps, Kelley, like Lord, had worked with Montgomery Wilson for
many years at the Skating Club of Boston, but had made a
coaching change several years prior to the 1961 U.S.
Championships so he could train with Eduard ‘Edi’ Scholdan, an
Austrian figure skater and coach at the Broadmoor Arena in
Somehow, all of these challenges only
seemed to motivate Lord in his pursuit of winning the 1961 U.S.
title, something that was evident in his victorious free skate
Ultimately, his impact among those who knew
him, just as like his skating, was potent and still resonates to
“Bradley was so nice. He would always come
by to chat to see how we were all doing,” said Nancy Madden
Leamy, a U.S. national coach based in Greenwich, Connecticut who
trained with Lord at the Skating Club of Boston growing up. (She
was also coached by Montgomery Wilson.) “We all worked hard at
the club and then many of us would then go out to eat afterward
and would sit together and just talk and laugh. It was a lot of
fun and we had a good time.”
Certainly, the legacy of all the talented
and fascinating members of the 1961 U.S. World team, as
illustrated in the work and story of Bradley Lord, has had a
great effect on so many and continues to serve as a powerful
prototype and means of inspiration today for those who comprise
the domestic and global skating world in terms of their skating,
determination and perhaps more than anything, heart.
How Many Entries Did the U.S. Earn for the Men's Olympic
Competition? Three Like for Worlds? If Only it Were
With Nathan Chen and Jason Brown delivering first and seventh
place results at the 2021 World Championships, their combined
placement of 8 was far better than the 13 needed to earn three
entries at the 2022 World Championships.
But if you though that also means the U.S. earned three
entries for the Men's event at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games,
you underestimate the Byzantine complexity of ISU rules.
4 Oct 2021 - The ISU Council has
decided that the qualification criteria for the ISU Junior Grand Prix of
Figure Skating Final (ISU Communication 2418) will not use the usual ISU
Junior Grand Prix ranking system as the basis for the ISU Junior Grand
Prix of Figure Skating Final qualification for 2021/22.
13 Sep 2021 - The hosting of the
2022 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Tianjin, China has
been cancelled due to complications of organizing the competition under
Covid-19 pandemic conditions in China. This follows on the
cancellation of the Cup of China Grand Prix, which was relocated to
The ISU has solicited applications to host the
Championships, and will make its decision at the ISU Council meeting on
1 October, 2021.
27 April 2021 - U.S. Figure Skating
announced 2021 Skate America will be returning to the Orleans Arena in
Las Vegas, NV. Fans are expected to be permitted this year.
21 April 2021 - Vanessa James, 33, and Eric Radford, 36, have formed a new skating partnership and will compete
for Canada in the pairs discipline this coming season. Previously James
represented France with Morgan Ciprés and Radford represented Canada
with Megan Duhamel.
“Partnering up with Eric is a very exciting career opportunity. I am
looking forward to a season full of inspiration, joy and personal
growth,” said James. “We’re both very much looking forward to
this new chapter in our lives.”
“I’m looking forward to this new partnership with Vanessa and getting
back on the ice and doing what we love,” said Radford. “Vanessa and
I are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Canada this coming
season and are looking forward to see what the future holds for our
James and Radford both did not compete this season. James, with her
previous skating partner Morgan Ciprés, is the 2019 European Champion,
the 2018 World bronze medallist in the pairs event, and represented
France at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. James and Ciprés announced
their retirement in September 2019. Radford, with his previous skating
partner Meagan Duhamel, is a two-time World pair champion (2015, 2016),
a 2018 Olympic gold medallist in the team event, a 2018 Olympic bronze
medallist in the pairs event, and a seven-time Canadian national
champion (2012-18). Duhamel and Radford announced their retirement in
This coming season, James and Radford will be training in Quebec coached
by Julie Marcotte.
6 April 2021 - Skate Canada
announced it will submit a bid in April of 2021 to host the ISU World
Figure Skating Championships® 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. If successful,
this will be Canada’s 11th time hosting the championships. Montreal was
set to host the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2020 but was
cancelled a week prior due to the pandemic. Canada last hosted the
illustrious event in 2013 in London, Ontario.
“We are thrilled to put forth Montreal as the host city for the ISU
World Figure Skating Championships® 2024 for consideration by the
International Skating Union. Canada has an exceptional hosting history,
and we would be honoured to hold the 2024 event,” said Leanna Caron,
President, Skate Canada. “With all the diligence that went into planning
the 2020 World Championships, the entire team is ready to welcome the
world to Montreal in 2024. We have confidence that working with
all government and municipal partners together with Patinage Quebec, we
will deliver an excellent event in Montreal.”
“The ISU World Figure Skating Championships are a staple event. I am
thrilled that Montréal was chosen to be the Canadian candidate to host
its 2024 edition. I would like to underline Tourisme Montréal's
contribution to this success as well as to the mobilization of the
community. This much-anticipated international competition promises to
be highly successful and to provide an excellent showcase for our
metropolis,” stated Valérie Plante, mayor of Montréal.
In accordance with ISU regulations, Skate Canada will submit Montreal as
the host city along with supporting documents in April 2021. The 2024
host will be determined by the ISU Council and a decision is expected
later this year.
10 March 2021 -
U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Famer and former
Olympian John Zimmerman was suspended from figure skating in fallout
from the Morgan Cipres sexual abuse scandal.
Cipres is facing a felony charge in Florida
after he allegedly sent a 13-year-old girl lewd photos of his
Cipres, 29, is currently living in France where he is
said to be working in real estate, and refuses interviews. A warrant
has been issued for his arrest in Florida.
Zimmerman and wife Sylvia Fontana, along with coach Vinny Dispenza,
were accused of covering up the sexual abuse of the female skater.
Zimmerman was suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for
two years. Fontana and Dispenza have each been given six months probation.
1 March 2021 - Ashley Cain-Gribble
and Timothy LeDuc will represent Team USA at the ISU World Figure
Skating Championships 2021 later this month, U.S. Figure Skating
announced Monday. The Dallas-based duo will replace Jessica Calalang and
Brian Johnson, who have withdrawn from the competition for personal
reasons unrelated to COVID-19.
In January, Cain-Gribble and LeDuc (the 2019 U.S.
pairs chamions) earned the bronze medal at the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure
Skating Championships, in Las Vegas, NV. They finished ninth at
the World Championships, earning the United States two pairs entries at
the next World Championships.
12 January 2021 - Skate Canada
announces the cancellation of the 2021 Canadian Tire National Skating
Championships and the 2021 Skate Canada Cup. The
championships were to occur from February 8-14, 2021 in Vancouver, B.C.,
at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre while the 2021 Skate
Canada Cup was planned to be a virtual event in replacement of the
pre-novice and novice competitions at the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge.
“We are deeply
saddened for all athletes, coaches, and supporting individuals who are
impacted by this decision and appreciate the incredible efforts to
overcome ever-evolving training and access challenges to best prepare
athletes for these events,” said Leanna Caron, President, Skate Canada.
25 Dec 2020 - Morry Stillwell, past
president of U.S. Figure skating passed away today, at age 93, from cardiac arrest
after battling pneumonia for several months. Morry was
born in Everett, Washington, on November 17, 1927.
Morry was U.S. Figure Skating president from 1995 to
1998 when skating was at the peak of it's popularity in the United
States. While president, he led the negotiations for the TV
contract with ABC that put U.S. Figure Skating on the road to financial
He was a key participant in the creation of the ISU
Champion Series in 1995 along with representatives from Canada, France,
Germany and Japan. This series later became the current ISU Grand
Prix of Figure skating. Morry served for five years as chairman of
the management committee of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.
Morry was a National U.S. Figure Skating judge and
referee in singles, pairs and showcase He also held an appointment
as a dance judge and technical controller. Together with Jack
Curtis he created the discipline of Showcase skating. He
originally began his involvement in amateur sports in roller skating.
Originally from the Seattle area, Morry, who was
named after Maurice Chevalier, spent most of his adult life in
Southern California. Following his term as U.S. Figure Skating
president he remained active in local skating, promoting skating at the
grass roots, in which he took great joy. He was president of the
Escondido (now North County) figure skating club for many years. Prior
to that he was active in the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and for a
time its president. Before that he was a member of the All
Year Figure Skating Club and president of that club.
Morry began as a roller skater and competed in three
roller skating national championships in dance. Later he switched
to ice skating, winning a bronze medal in Bronze dance at Pacific Coast
After passing the silver dance tests, Morry was
drafted into the army and served at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville,
Alabama working as a technician for Werner von Braun. While in Huntsville, he started an artistic roller
figure skating club called the Rocket City Roller Club.
Morry was the devoted husband of Elda Stillwell.
They were married for 65 years. Elda is a U.S. Figure skating
National Accountant. Together they were fixtures at Southern
California competitions for many decades. He is survived by wife
Elda and daughter Lisa.