Friday, January 15, 2010

Bradley going for broke at U.S. Championships

When Ryan Bradley hits the ice for the senior men's short program Friday night, he'll be going for broke.

"I [want] something to set me apart from the other boys, who kind of get a jump up on my in the program component [scores]," Bradley, 26, said.

"From day one this season I've been working [on the quads] ...they're not going anywhere."

With three U.S. men's Vancouver Olympic spots available, and competition the likes of top guns Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir and Jeremy Abbott, the likable Bradley figures its go big, or stay home.

For him, that means risking a quadruple toe, triple toe as the combination in his "Dark Eyes" short, and doing two quad toes [including one in combination] in his free skate to "Amadeus."

"I'm going to go for broke this year; without great risk there is no great reward," the Colorado Springs-based skater said.

"There are three spots, and six or seven boys that could legitimately be on the team. It's really going to come down to who does it on that day. I'm really excited."

Bradley, the undisputed U.S. quad king on this season's Grand Prix circuit, was credited with quads in both of his programs at Trophee Eric Bompard, where he placed ninth. Two quads in his free skate at Skate America gave him the bronze medal.

"Artistry is not necessarily my strength; I like to do the big tricks," he said. "That's what I focus on."

Performing at the Spokane Arena, where he won the U.S. silver medal in 2007, should give him an added jolt of confidence. Many in the stands will no doubt remember his reaction after his sterling free skate that year: a spur-of-the-moment back flip.

"I haven't watched [that program] in a while...maybe last season I put it on to remind myself what it felt like," said Bradley, who placed fifth in the U.S. in 2008 and fourth last season.

"I don't want to duplicate it. I feel like I'm a much better skater [now] and I want to show the world that. This time around I know what to expect and I feel a lot more prepared."

Junior men kick things off
The junior men lead off the 2010 AT&T United States Figure Skating Championships with their short program tomorrow morning.

Californian Austin Kanallakan, who placed fifth last season, and Alexander Zahradnicek, a Wilmington, Del.-based skater who was seventh in 2009, are among the favorites. Also keep an eye on up-and-comers including 2009 novice champion Josh Farris of Colorado Springs and 2009 novice bronze medalist Jason Brown, who won the Midwestern Sectional juniors in impressive fashion.

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