by Liz Leamy
(22 March 2021) Bradie Tennell, the driven, enigmatic Illinois 2018 Olympian and two-time U.S. titlist, is all about the eye of the proverbial tiger as she prepares to compete at the 2021 World Championships in Stockholm next week.
This focused 23 year-old, who clinched her first U.S. title in 2018 and valiantly reclaimed it last January at the 2021 U.S. Championships in Las Vegas, is someone who is all about getting the job done.
Known for her rock-solid triple jumps and fast and beautifully formed spins, Tennell’s artistry emerged as another defining factor in her skating this season, something that has further helped her evolve into a fully well-rounded world contender and a key factor in her winning the 2021 U.S title, for certain.
In Las Vegas, Tennell, who has been training in Colorado Springs with Tom Zakrajsek for much of the past year, skated with the ease, command and expertise of a premiere global contender, indicating she is indeed ready to rally against the rest of the sport’s top ladies in Stockholm.
Reputed to be one of the sport’s most consistent skaters, Tennell is currently listed as one of the top-ranked ladies in the world by the International Skating Union and is cited to be in contention to wind up with a podium-level finish at this celebrated annual event, particularly if she continues her warrior-like plight.
For Tennell, it’s all about getting the job done as well as skating with a purpose of showing her passion for what she does out on the ice.
“I’m so excited. I feel really ready and I can’t wait to get there,” said Tennell in a pre-Worlds Zoom teleconference call earlier this week. “I have a job to do. I have full confidence in myself and want to enjoy my performances.”
Asked by media about the notion of competing against some of the Russian and Japanese skaters, Tennell stated her feelings on this matter with both confidence and conviction.
“I can only go out there and skate to the best of my ability,” said Tennell. “As long as I do that, I think I’ll be happy. What more could I ask of myself than [doing] my very best?”
For Tennell, the biggest thing is to always maintain and have a love of skating, the impetus of all that she does out on the ice.
“I’ve always just really loved being on the ice. I love feeling the wind on my face and trying to make my steps faster,” said Tennell. “I feel like when I step on the ice I feel grounded. I like the grind of working and pushing myself to get through the programs and the really good feeling of landing a triple-triple combo.”
Certainly, Tennell’s passion for skating seems to be transmitted in her performances more than anything this season, which is something that means a great deal to her.
“I love the excitement of competing and really feel like I found my calling,” said Tennell of skating. “I feel so lucky to do something I love so much everyday.”
This past year, Tennell concentrated especially hard on the artistic aspect of her skating, efforts that seem to have yielded substantial returns based on her results this season.
“I’m so glad that the hard work in the artistic side of my skating is paying off and people are taking notice,” said Tennell, who has been working intensively with Benoit Richaud on this aspect of her skating this past year. “It’s something I’m proud of.”
Tennell also spoke about the terrific energy at the Broadmoor World Arena.
At this renowned venue, she trains daily with other prominent American competitive skaters, including Vincent Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist and three-time U.S. silver medalist and Karen Chen, the 2017 U.S. titlist and three-time U.S. bronze medalist.
“We each bring our own kind of energy to the ice and we feed off of it,” said Tennell, saying she gets inspired by things like seeing Zhou do a clean run through of his program.
Most of all, like her U.S. World teammates, Tennell said she is grateful to have the opportunity to compete at the World Championships during this unprecedented time.
“I’m very glad we have the opportunity [to compete] this year,” said Tennell. “It’s nice to get out on the international circuit [again].”