We’ll admit it: before the 2018 national figure skating championship, we didn’t know the name Bradie Tennell. The 19-year-old from Carpentersville, IL, only made her international debut as a senior figure skater during the 2016-2017 season, finishing 9th in the national championships in 2017. In her second season, Bradie shocked us all, taking the top scores to become the US national champion over veterans Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen, and Ashley Wagner and securing a spot on Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Before you watch her try to get a medal for the US, here’s what you need to know about the rising star.
Skating Is a Family Thing
She stepped on the ice for the first time at age 2 (2 1/2 if you ask her) and hasn’t stopped since then. Her two younger brothers, Austin and Shane, are following her ice skating strides by playing hockey.
She Didn’t Get Her First Haircut Until She Was 13
Her mom then cut 21 inches off her hair.
This Isn’t Her First National Championship
It’s her first win in a senior competition, but in 2015, Bradie was the US junior national champion.
She’s Had Some Injuries
After winning her junior title, Bradie had a back injury and spent some time in a brace. Lucky for Team USA, Bradie recovered through Pilates and physical therapy.
Her Least Favorite Thing About Skating Is So Relatable
“My least favorite thing about skating would have to be waking up so early in the morning,” she says in her personal website.
She Wants to Go to College
She’ll have to put her college degree dreams on hold for a little while longer as she heads to South Korea, but Bradie says graduating is a personal goal.
Korean Olympic Fans Might Be Familiar With Her Skating Music
Bradie’s short program is set to selections from Taegukgi, a popular Korean movie. The music choice was suggested to Bradie by a friend.
It Might Not Look Like It, but She Does Get Nervous
Bradie seems so at ease on the ice and is known for performing well under pressure, but after winning the national championship, she told The New York Times, she does get a little nervous. “I just had to keep calm and focus on what I knew I could do. There’s the initial butterflies, but I kind of start to lose myself and keep going,” Bradie told the newspaper.
To learn more about Bradie, visit Team USA. The Winter Olympics will air live, beginning Feb 8.