Reigning U.S. figure skating champion Bradie Tennell withdrew from next week’s national championships due to a chronic right foot injury, ruling her out of Olympic consideration unless she petitions for a spot on the team.
Tennell, the top U.S. woman at the 2018 Olympics (ninth place), hasn’t competed this season due to the injury. She recently detailed her struggles since it first popped up in July.
“This morning I made the hardest decision of my life to withdraw from Nationals due to my ongoing foot injury,” was posted on Tennell’s social media Friday. “I don’t really know how to put into words what I’m feeling right now. I normally try to keep things light, but this hurts. I don’t like to give up when things get hard, but time has not been my friend this year and now it’s run out. These past six months, I’ve been consistently on and off the ice as we’ve worked to identify and address exactly what is wrong with my foot. I have seen expert doctors across the country in California, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Portland, Chicago, and Boston. I changed boot companies to try to alleviate some of the pain. I’ve tried many different treatments, some of which worked for a little bit, some of which didn’t work at all. As summer turned to fall and then fall to winter, I refused to give up. I thought if I kept pushing, I’d be able to overcome the pain enough to consistently be on the ice, training in the sport I love. And though I have done everything in my power to try to be ready for Nationals, I have to listen to what my body is telling me and accept that I won’t be able to compete next week. I will keep working to get healthy, and I wish everyone the absolute BEST of luck next week. I will be cheering my hardest for ALL of Team USA as they head to Beijing.”
Tennell’s absence leaves four primary contenders for three Olympic spots — two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu, 2018 Olympian Karen Chen and Mariah Bell and Amber Glenn, the last two U.S. silver medalists.
Tennell said last week, when she was set on competing at nationals, that she had looked into the petition process. If Tennell decides to petition, it would have to be submitted by next Friday night.
Tennell, 23, also said that she will continue competing beyond this season. If she does and makes the 2026 Olympic team, she will be the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s singles skater since 1928, according to Olympedia.org.
Tennell is the first U.S. woman to not defend her national title since Sasha Cohen in 2007, and the first not to do so in an Olympic year since Michelle Kwan in 2006. Kwan was the last U.S. figure skater to successfully petition for a spot on an Olympic team after not competing at nationals.
“I’ll be back,” Tennell posted. “I’m not done fighting.”
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk