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Bradie Tennell eating up the Yuletide spirit before prepping for defense of national title

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Reigning U.S. ladies’ champion and 2018 Olympian Bradie Tennell is filled with Christmas spirit. Her family’s tree is up and decorated, she has her Christmas pajamas ready, and most of her gift shopping has been done.

“We have a Christmas Eve tradition where my mom always makes crepes,” said Tennell. “She fills them with applesauce. She asks if we want cinnamon applesauce or regular applesauce. Everyone always wants cinnamon apple sauce. So, we end up eating the regular applesauce with spoons out of dishes.”

Crepe preparation takes about two hours. By the time it’s finished, some are cold, so they warm them up in the oven. The family watches a Christmas movie together while eating the crepes. Tennell, 20, is the oldest of three kids. Brother Austin is 19 and Shane is 17. For Christmas day, Tennell is going to try and make a pumpkin pie.

Some skaters move away to train, but Tennell has been able to live at home with her family while training at the elite level. She considers herself fortunate to have her mother and brothers present in her daily life.

“It’s played a huge part,” she said. “My family is so important to me. All these traditions shape who you are as a person. Being able to hear about my brothers’ days at school every day or go to my mom with a random topic, like a problem, even some funny story that happened that day, it’s been really awesome. I’m so grateful I have the resources here to be able to live at home.”

The Christmas Eve crepes and a movie is strictly for Tennell, her mother and brothers. She doesn’t have a favorite Christmas movie and admitted she hasn’t yet seen classics like White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life, but said she’s going to check them out.

Tennell’s mother, Jean, is a nurse, but she makes it a point to not work on Christmas Eve. “She’s really proactive about making sure she’s home on Christmas Eve because both we’re huge Christmas fans,” said Tennell. “We love Christmas.”

The Christmas tree went up the weekend after Tennell got home from Internationaux de France. She caught up on TV shows while decorating the tree.

“Putting the tree up is a big task, but my favorite part of Christmas is coming home and seeing the tree every day,” said Tennell. “I learned how to put up the Christmas tree from my mom, obviously. My favorite part is she always puts so many lights on, so the tree is bright and beautiful. Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few skate ornaments, so you can always tell which ornaments are mine.”

She brought a couple of ornaments back from her recent trip to Golden Spin of Zagreb, which she won. Tennell also does some of her Christmas shopping during her skating travels. Shopping overseas enables her to find new and unusual things.

“You’ve got all these really unique gifts for people,” she said. “It’s really fun for me to give my friends and family gifts from overseas. The looks on their faces when they see a really interesting gift is so much fun for me to see.”

Bradie Tennell and her mother at the Golden Spin competition in Croatia. / Credit: Courtesy of Bradie Tennell

Gifts are opened on Christmas morning and she does not reveal in advance what she got someone. Tennell will be wearing Christmas pajamas and her mother has a pair of Mickey Mouse Christmas pajamas that she likes to wear.

As Christmas approaches, Tennell can be found channeling the season at the ice rink. She wears green pants paired with the brightest red shirt she has. The fun of it makes the training day go by more easily.

Shortly after Christmas, Tennell heads to Lake Placid, N.Y. for Stars on Ice. There will be no overindulging on Christmas, but she definitely will have at least a couple of Christmas cookies.

“How can you not?” she said.

Looking back on her 2018, Tennell knows it’s been a good year—winning a U.S. title, going to the Olympics and winning a bronze medal in the team competition. Her Olympic gear is perfect for the cold Illinois winters.

“The jacket is so warm,” she said. “It’s great to whip that out when I’m going to my brother’s hockey game.”

Right after the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Tennell turns 21, but she hasn’t given that big birthday too much thought.

“Why don’t we get through nationals first, and then I’ll focus on that,” she said.

As a reminder, you can watch the U.S. Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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MORE: Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue starting new holiday traditions

IOC pledges €500,000 to help restore Notre Dame ahead of 2024 Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee plans to donate €500,000 ($562,000) to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 2024 Olympic host city.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wants to see Notre Dame restored within five years.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote in a Wednesday letter to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse, which reported Notre Dame is on the planned marathon and road cycling routes. “All the Olympic Movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

More than $500 million has been pledged overall from around the globe after a fire ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.

NBC News has more on the Notre Dame fire here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Patrick Kane joined by NHL All-Stars on world championship roster

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NHL All-Stars Jack EichelRyan Suter and Cory Schneider join previously named captain Patrick Kane to lead the U.S. at next month’s world hockey championship in Slovakia, seeking the nation’s first title at a standalone worlds since 1933.

Sixteen players were added to the roster in Thursday’s announcement with more to come before worlds open May 10 and more teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making more players available. The IIHF allows up to 25 players per nation.

Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will be the U.S. head coach for a third straight worlds. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.

Sweden is trying to become the first nation to three-peat at worlds since the Czech Republic in 2001.

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Preliminary IIHF World Championship Roster
Forwards

Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers)
Frank Vatrano (Florida Panthers)
Colin White (Ottawa Senators)

Defensemen
Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)
Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings)
Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)

Goalies
Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)
Cayden Primeau (Laval (AHL))
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils)