NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, a favorite to make the Olympic team, has withdrawn from next week's nationals. Tennell, who has missed the season's main competitions on the road to the Beijing Games, has been dealing with a right foot injury.
She still could make the American squad for February's Olympics by petitioning for a spot. But with several other top skaters competing in Nashville, that seems a long shot.
Tennell, 23 and a member of the 2018 Olympic team, said on social media: "I made the hardest decision of my life to withdraw from nationals due to my ongoing foot injury. 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."
Her withdrawal likely leaves two-time national champ Alysa Liu — who was beaten by Tennell in 2021 for the U.S. title — 2018 Olympian Karen Chen, Mariah Bell and Amber Glenn as the top contenders for the team. The national championships begin Thursday for the women.
Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski sees the women's event as relatively wide open.
“I believe Alysa (Liu) is on track to win another title as her fairly consistent triple axel and very consistent triple-triples give her the edge,” she says of the 16-year-old two-time U.S. champ who only this season was old enough to compete at the senior level. "The next two spots will make for exciting competition. There are pros and cons going for all the contenders.
Lipinski made her comments last week, prior to Tennell bowing out.
The last American woman not to defend her title was Sasha Cohen in 2007.
Travis Pittman contributed to this report.