Bradie Tennell Wins First U.S. Figure Skating Title, Set To Compete In Pyeongchang Olympics
Bradie Tennell may not be a household name yet, but she could very soon become one.
Bradie Tennell and 2018 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team News
The Illinois native — who will be 20 on Jan. 31 — secured her first national figure skating title in San Jose, California on Friday and has now earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February.
Tennell’s top opponents, 24-year-old Californian Mirai Nagasu and 18-year-old Californian Karen Chen, had already performed incredible routines.
“I just had to keep calm and focus on what I knew I could do,” said Tennell. “There’s the initial butterflies, but I kind of start to lose myself and keep going.”
Nagasu won a national title ten years ago and finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She finished second on Friday. Nagasu lost out on a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the Sochi Games in 2014, however: 26-year-old Ashley Wagner earned the place instead.
Chen, the reigning champion, placed third on Friday, while Wagner finished fourth. Nagasu and Chen will thus join Tennell in Pyeongchang for the Olympics, which begin Feb. 9.
Tennell scored a career best of 219.51. Nagasu followed with a 213.84, and Chen earned a 198.59.
Wagner got the crowd excited for most of her vivacious routine, choreographed to the “La La Land” score, although her final jump, a Lutz, didn’t turn out great. She later criticized the judges for their scoring (Wagner got 196.19 points) but stood by her comments despite criticism from many.
However, Wagner expressed support for the U.S. Olympic team in a tweet:
As an athlete, I’m allowed to be mad. As a senior competitor with over 10 years of experience, I’m allowed to question things. At the end of the day, I laid out my best and I’m going home proud! Congrats to the lovely ladies of the team, you’ve got me in your cheering squad now!
— Ashley Wagner (@AshWagner2010) January 6, 2018
Tennell finished ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, and also won the junior gold medal by over 16 points at the 2015 U.S. Championships