Bradie Tennell, an Olympic newbie, fell for the first time since she can remember during the women’s short program on Feb. 20. And, there’s an interesting reason why many were shocked by her fall!
1. Bradie Tennell, 20, is an American competitive skater from Illinois. — Tennell is the eldest of three; She has two brothers, Austin and Shane. The three siblings have been raised by a single mother, Jeannie, who Tennell credits as “wonder woman.” Tennell began skating at age two, and has had the same coach, Denise Myers for 10 years. Tennell, who favors the motto, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” referenced that saying when she decided not to move away from Illinois to train, like most pro skaters do. “My philosophy has kind of been, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Tennell said. “I have great people surrounding me here and I like being here, all my friends are here and I didn’t really see the point of moving and kind of changing my entire lifestyle when what I’m doing here is working.”
2. Her fall is why she made headlines on February 20 — Tennell, the first skater to take the ice, fell on her first jumping pass during the women’s short program on Wednesday at the 2018 Winter Olympics. She held onto a poor landing on the opening jump of her combination, the triple lutz, but subsequently fell trying the triple toe loop. As part of the United States’ team, Tennell won a bronze medal in the Team Event at the 2018 Olympics.
3. Tennell doesn’t fall, seriously. — She is known for being consistent and rarely, if not ever falling. After her shocking tumble Tennell actually told reporters that she could not recall the last time she fell. “I could tell that something was just a little off,” she said of the fall. “And things happen, we’re all human. You make mistakes, so you just gotta get up and keep going.” She continued, “My timing was just a little off and my left arm got a little away from me, so I wasn’t able to get the snap.” Tennell discovered things weren’t going as planned at the end of her first jump, in just seconds leading up to the next. Tennell took the ice as the very first skater in the event. “I’m not very fond of skating first, but that’s kind of what you train for,” she said. “And you know, I practice it a bunch of times and you’ve just got to go out there and do what you can do.”
4. Although she’s a champion, Tennell wasn’t well known until 2017. — She was introduced to the world when she placed third at Skate America in the fall of 2017. In November, Tennell won a bronze medal in her grand prix debut at the 2017 Bridgestone Skate America competition, becoming the first U.S. woman since Caroline Zhang 2007 to do so. In fact, she was the only U.S. woman to medal at the event. After her unexpected bronze medal, even Tennell expressed her surprise. “There are moments where it’ll hit me and I’ll be like, ‘Wow, three months ago I was nobody and now I’m U.S. champion,’” she said after winning the national title. “I like to tell people I’m still the same person I was before, now I just have another title in front of my name.”
5. She has overcome adversity. — Tennell began walking at 10-months-old, but kept tripping and falling. As a result, she was put in orthotics at 11-months-old to correct the pronation problem. “She could walk straight, but she couldn’t run,” her mother, Jeannie, a registered nurse explained [via Team USA]. “Any time she would take off running, she would trip over one of her feet.”
“She took it upon herself moving those little tiny one-inch orthotics from her shoes to her skates and her big thing was that she knew she had to wear those orthotics so that she could wear high heels when she gets older,” Jeannie said. “That was it.”
At age five, Tennell was obsessed with skating, however, “This kid couldn’t jump on two feet,” her mom admitted. Therefore, Jeannie got her daughter a pink jump rope and helped her to work on her coordination on their backyard patio because “it was something that she didn’t want to give up,” Jeannie said.
Then, as Tennell was on the brink of being a senior skater, she suffered another setback — back fractures that put her in a brace twice for three months at a time. “The doctor said it was an overuse injury, so just too much impact,” Tennell said. — Two different vertebrae were affected so her mother made her wear the back brace all day long. “It was in the middle of summer so it was very hot and I was off the ice and I had never been off the ice for that long before,” Tennell said. “It was very, very mentally tough. I had a hard time with it at first, but I talked to my mom a lot about it, and she really helped me put things in perspective and not give up on myself. I told myself that I would heal and that I would try my very best to return back to full strength.”
Jeannie made sure Bradie was doing her physical therapy exercises properly and kept any doubts she had to inside. “She and I had many tears over it and the thoughts were in my head, like, ‘This could be it,’” Jeannie said. “I would never say that to her.” Tennell ended up making a full recovery.
HollywoodLifers, were you shocked by Tennell’s fall?