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Bradley hits quad-triple combo at Liberty

Lots of early-season slips and trips as skaters test programs

Ryan Bradley leads the 21-member field at Liberty after a rollicking short program set to a medley of Elvis Presley tunes.
Ryan Bradley leads the 21-member field at Liberty after a rollicking short program set to a medley of Elvis Presley tunes. (Getty Images)

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By Liz Leamy and Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(07/19/2008) - "Well, it's only July," many skaters must have told themselves after the Liberty Open senior mens' short program, held last night.

Former U.S. bronze medalist Ryan Bradley (Broadmoor SC) scored top honors in the talented 21-member field, but his program to an Elvis Presley medley had a stop or two at the heartbreak hotel.

The affable 24-year-old opened with what he called his "best ever" quadruple toe-triple toe combination (worth 14.05 points), but came to grief on a flawed double Axel (2.30 points) before recovering with a strong triple Lutz. One move later, he lost an edge and fell flat on his back during circular footwork, losing several points.

"I don't know what happened," Bradley said. "I was gliding backwards and my weight just kept on going."

His entertaining performance, which also featured two Level 4 spins, earned 68.55 points.

"The quads feel really good this summer," Bradley, who trains with Tom Zakrajsek and Becky Calvin in Colorado Springs, said. "This was the first time I hit the quad-triple in the short; it was the best one ever. I tried to get back into it with the next element [an intended triple Axel], but I lost it a little bit."

About his "Elvis" program, which features cuts of "Hound Dog," "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Jailhouse Rock," the skater said, "I picked it because people always think I've already skated to Elvis, which I never have. They say, 'I really loved that Elvis program you did.' It's a fun piece to do."

Last year, Bradley skipped Liberty due to scheduling conflicts, so he's especially glad to be back.

"Last season didn't end up the way I wanted," the skater, who placed fifth at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, said. "So I'm getting an early start. I've come to this event ever since I first started as a senior 10 years ago. Even though I haven't always had the best performances here, it was nice to skate pretty good tonight."

Shaun Rogers (University of Delaware FSC) took second with his dramatic take on the music from the motion picture score of Sweeney Todd, for which he was awarded 66 points. His was one of the cleanest programs of the evening.

"It was the first clean short I've done in a while and I thought it was good," Rogers said.

The skater began with a quad toe-double toe combination, followed by a solid triple Lutz and triple Axel. In the final jump, Rogers seemed to momentarily lose his axis in the air, yet still managed to find his feet.

"The triple Axel is his favorite jump, so he knows exactly where his feet are on it," Pam Duane Gregory, Rogers' coach, said.

Canadian champion Patrick Chan placed third with a flawed but promising program to "Tango de Roxanne," choreographed by Lori Nichol.

The 17-year-old opened with a strong triple Axel, but fell on the landing of the second half his triple flip-triple toe combination. He hit a triple Lutz, then lost his footing on the entry of his back sit combination spin.

"I was pretty happy with how I did," Chan said. "The program is very new. I could tell it wasn't trained enough. It's the first time I performed it so it was a little tough going out.

"This season, I got two new programs from Lori, so I have a lot on my mind. Initially, I was only going to get a new long program."

The skater added that he was pleased with his new technique on the triple Axel, which he began perfecting just prior to Liberty.

"I changed the take-off; I have a straighter back, and now it's more of a good-looking jump," Chan explained. "The landings are softer."

Curran Oi (SC of Boston) took fourth with a solid short to music from Phantom of the Opera, which earned 59.70 points. The 17-year-old high school senior landed a big triple Axel and triple flip-triple toe, but singled a triple Lutz.

Oi was pleased with his performance, which he said was a big improvement over his less-than-stellar free skate at last season's U.S. championships. There, he placed a disappointing sixth in the junior event.

"Bombing in the free at nationals helped me realize I need to more focused and feel more confident in my training, and I think it helped me get stronger," Oi, who trains with Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, said.

Jeremy Abbott, who placed 11th at the 2008 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in March, had a disappointing outing to Albinoni's "Adagio in G Minor," choreographed by Catarina Lindgren. The 23-year-old Aspen, Colo., native earned the highest program components score of the event, 33.01, but fell on an intended quad toe combination and popped a triple Axel. He sits fifth with 59.31 points.

Sylvia Yu contributed to this article.