The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Jan. 5

Bradley returns, Flatt makes social debut and skater resolutions

Rachael Flatt dances with Patrick Chan at the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball.
Rachael Flatt dances with Patrick Chan at the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball. (courtesy Rachael Flatt)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/05/2011) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins are back with a New Year's edition of "The Inside Edge."

Ryan Bradley returns and skaters make New Year's resolutions
Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed your holidays. We shared some Boston fabulousness -- including a jaunt to Barneys -- but we're back at work and getting ready for Greensboro! To start the year off, we asked some skaters if they had made any resolutions they would be willing to share with the world. Here are some of the answers.

Mirai Nagasu: My new year's resolution is to stop procrastinating tomorrow. Ha ha, get it?

Jeremy Abbott: My resolution this year is to be on time. I actually started a few days early. I don't believe that I have ever made a serious resolution before. I fully intend to keep this one. I am ALWAYS late for everything and it's a bit of a problem.

Ashley Wagner: To start landing my jumps in competition. On one foot.

Adam Rippon: I have more of a goal than a resolution. I will be attempting to master the guitar! It's something I've always wanted to learn and I decided it was now or never.

Agnes Zawadzki: Not to procrastinate.

Parker Pennington: To live life to the fullest and take some chances. I know that sounds kind of cliché, but I want to enjoy and embrace every moment.

Jason Brown: To land my TRIPLE AXEL!

Jonathan Cassar: To get settled in California, finally. I've been bouncing around from place to place and I still haven't gotten settled. I've lived like a gypsy for the last six months. I have learned to train in any atmosphere, though.

Alexe Gilles: I don't have a very good resolution but it's to stay healthy and happy, and live and experience everything to the fullest.

Felicia Zhang: I just got my permit, so hopefully this year I'll be a good driver and get my license! And this year I hope will be as wonderful or even better than last year in my skating career!

Taylor Toth: To be more philanthropic, with a special focus on the homeless and special-needs children... and to cut back on diet Coke.

Daisuke Murakami: I wish health and happiness to all my friends, and to all my training-mates to get through this cold winter while we are up here in Lake Arrowhead until we move to Palm Springs. And to Frank [Carroll] that he gets a nice vacation after all his trips to competitions this year!

Boogie Woogie Bradley
We've been getting a lot of requests for an update on Ryan Bradley, and we are happy to oblige! The three of us joined up for a conference call on Monday night. When we blogged about Bradley last spring, he was just about to have surgery for a broken bone in his foot. First off, we asked how the recovery process had gone.

"Obviously it was pretty tough," he said. "I had to have three screws put in my foot. It was a very strange summer where I was off the ice for at least three months. I spent the majority of the time off traveling around giving seminars."

Once Bradley started skating again, he hit the ice running.

"I literally got on the ice and a few days later I had my first show," he told us.

How did he do it?

"I worked really hard on my fitness while I was off the ice. I think a lot of it was mental -- I was really confident, I expected things to come. The biggest roadblock was that for the first month I was in old skates that I'd had for about two years. The moment I got in my new skates, with better support, the triple Axel and quad came back right away.

We asked Bradley what prompted the decision to return to competition at the U.S. championships this month. He told us his fans were a big part of it.

"One of the contracts I was going to do got canceled, so I had a big block of time. And I got so many letters and messages from fans, people saying, 'You can't stop!' And who am I to tell them no? I have great fans, I love them."

Bradley told us he had choreographed a lot of programs, for his various show appearances. He thought about turning his Willy Wonka exhibition into a free skate, but he felt he didn't have enough time, so he is keeping last year's free. He is also keeping the jump content, including two quads.

"I feel like that's such a big part of my skating," he said. "I don't like to back down -- I feel like I compete my best when I'm being aggressive and pushing myself."

Bradley choreographed a new short program to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

"My plan was to have my short be a surprise at nationals, but I did it at Brian Boitano's show and it aired on TV already!" he said.

Bradley's sister Becky will be at his side in Greensboro as his coach. Around the time he decided to compete, his long-time coach Tom Zakrajsek left for the Grand Prix, so Bradley has pretty much been training on his own.

"This year is about having fun, really enjoying the process," he said. "Last year was so much about making the Olympic team, and to be honest I kind of made myself miserable. There's something pure about skating, and I wanted to make this year totally about that, to embrace that, rather than being too stressed about the outcome. I trust my sister and she's very good at keeping me calm, she's a very positive influence in my life."

Bradley admitted that he has gotten a very late start this season.

"I feel like I've been so out of the loop. I haven't been to a competition for almost a year. I'm really excited to be back!"

Belle of the Ball
Rachael Flatt made her social debut Dec. 22, at the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball, along with 26 other young women.

"It was so much fun," said Flatt. "I enjoyed catching up with the other debutantes after their first semester of college. For escorts, I had my dad, Patrick Chan and Alex Levine, who was my neighbor growing up in California. We danced the night away, and then I paid for it the next day in training!"

Skates on planes
Jonathan Cassar spent the holidays at home in Detroit, and although he flew back to Los Angeles on Sunday, his skates stayed in the Motor City. With an enforced day off from training, he called us to catch up, and we asked him how his life and his skating have been going since he moved to California to train with Frank Carroll.

"This season I thought I just needed to get my triple Axel, but Frank was like, 'You need to start over,'" Cassar told us.

With that, Cassar started re-working all his jumps, which led to a couple of rough summer competitions. Last fall, he received his first international assignment and traveled to Helsinki for the Finlandia Trophy. The trip was a bit of an ordeal.

"When we got to the airport Amanda [Dobbs] and I walked in and this lady told us the line for international check-in started outside. And then they wouldn't let our skates go through. We put both our skates in one bag and I ran back to check-in. I thought I was going to miss the flight. And on the plane, Amanda said, 'You know, if that bag gets lost, neither of us is going to be able to skate.' But it got there fine, no worries."

In the end, it took Cassar and Dobbs nearly 24 hours to get to Helsinki. Once there, Cassar met up with David Wilson, who stood in for busy coach Carroll for the competition.

"He had just gotten back from 10 days in China, and then he was in LA for Yu-Na [Kim's] show with Michelle [Kwan] -- I went, it was awesome, but by the time we got to Finland it was like his body was still somewhere over the Atlantic."

Cassar said having Wilson at his side was a good experience.

"He's a really good technician as well as a choreographer," said Cassar.

"I missed my camel spin in the short," Cassar said ruefully. "I learned, after Finland, if I change the flying camel it means I have to change all the spins in the program. I spent some time with David afterward and we changed all the spins and at Coasts I got Level 4 for all my spins. I skated almost clean in my long, and I was happy with it. I couldn't have asked for more, after the summer."

Going into the 2011 Pacific Coast Championships, Cassar just wanted to qualify for the U.S. championships.

"I was a little bit nervous and anxious, and Frank was away again, but I went with Todd Sand, who's very calm," he said. The calmness had a good effect, as Cassar won the sectional title for the first time. On to Greensboro!

Sarah and Drew
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