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 this event.
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 competition.
“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 minute.”
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 States.
“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 journey.
“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, among others.