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At first branded ‘Ms. Consistency,’ Bradie Tennell’s jumps lately have been more inconsistent

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DETROIT – Bradie Tennell’s rise from near obscurity to the leading U.S. women’s skater last season was built on consistency that matched her never-miss-a-day work ethic.

Going into the individual competition at the 2018 Olympics, Tennell had flawlessly landed 31 of her 32 triple jumps in major competitions last season.

Then she fell on the second jump of her combination in the Olympic short program.

And her jumping has been surprisingly inconsistent since.

In Tennell’s seven national and international competitions beginning with the 2018 Olympics, fewer than two-thirds (43 of 69) of her triple jumps or combinations with triple jumps have resulted in a positive Grade of Execution.

Many of the negatives have come from under-rotation calls, as the International Skating Union cracked down on under-rotated jumps this season. Eighteen of her 26 negative GOEs have involved under-rotations.

The calls have frustrated her coaches, Denise Myers and Jeremy Allen, who feel after watching slow-motion video of the jumps in question that the negatives are, well, uncalled for.

“Obviously, you don’t want to get those calls,” Tennell said. “All you can do is take the lesson learned and move on.”

At the 2019 U.S. Championships, in which she finished second to Alysa Liu, Tennell won Thursday’s short program with one of just two clean programs she has done among her 14 this season. (The other was in her previous competition, Golden Spin of Zagreb.)

The Friday free skate, in which she finished fourth, included a botched landing on the second jump of a triple Lutz, triple loop combination and a fall on the under-rotated triple Lutz that was to open a second triple-triple combination.

Bradie Tennell falls on a jump during her performance during her women’s free skate program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“What we do out there is really hard and we’re only human,” Tennell said.

Myers felt the emphasis Tennell has been putting on the artistic side and artistic complexity of her skating this season may, in the short term, have contributed to lesser jump consistency.

“We want to focus on the growth Bradie has made artistically over the past season,” Myers said Saturday. “If you look at her transitions in and out of each element, I know you must see it [the growth]. It’s a process.”

Tennell, 20, has repeatedly insisted this season that she does not feel extra pressure from her suddenly acquired status as best in the U.S.

“It has never crossed my mind that I’m the woman to beat,” she said earlier this month. “I don’t think of things in terms like that. Every time I go out on the ice, I want to do the best for myself.”

MORE: Alysa Liu is the “future of U.S. ladies’ skating,” according to Tara Lipinski

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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Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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MORE: World Single Distances Championships broadcast schedule