Three questions with Bradie Tennell before the U.S. Championships

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Bradie Tennell had a meteoric rise last year from relative unknown to national champion and U.S. Olympian. This year, with more eyes on her, she opened her season with a win at the Autumn Classic and most recently won Golden Spin in December. In between though, she was fourth at Skate America but earned a bronze at Grand Prix France.

At her media teleconference ahead of nationals, she said her up-and-down season had a few “bright spots,” especially coming off of an Olympic year.

Here’s what we learned:

1. She doesn’t think of herself as the U.S. lady to beat.

“That never really crossed my mind. I don’t think I think of things in terms like that. I think every time I go out on the ice, I want to do the best for myself. And as long as I do that, I’m happy.”

2. One of her goals this season was to improve the artistic side of her skating. So far, it’s working… slowly.

“In Croatia [where she won the Golden Spin competition in early December] I was a little disappointed with my performance on the artistic side. It was a little lackluster in my opinion. Having all this time afterward to train it and really work on it, I’m really hoping to see some improvement at Nationals.”

3. Despite being an Olympian and the reigning national champion, she still coaches younger skaters.

“I really love bringing all the attention to this sport, that brings new interest. It always makes my day when I see a little kid on the ice for the first or second time having so much fun.”

“It’s a lot of fun [to coach]. I really love being able to take the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained and share it with the younger kids. I think that’s something special. Not everybody gets to have that opportunity. I really love being able to one, have that opportunity, and be able to use it.”

MORE: Nathan Chen prepared to capture third national title

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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