Bradley ready for worlds if rescheduled

Filled with questions after championships postponed

It's yet to be decided where Ryan Bradley and the rest of the qualifiers for worlds will be skating or if the competition will be canceled.
It's yet to be decided where Ryan Bradley and the rest of the qualifiers for worlds will be skating or if the competition will be canceled. (Paul Harvath)


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By Amy Rosewater, special to
(03/15/2011) - At the start of the season, Ryan Bradley wasn't even sure he was going to be in the competitive skating world, let alone making the world team.

But after a few months away from rigorous training and pondering retirement, Bradley came back and wound up winning the national title. In doing so, he earned a berth to the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo.

Now, his skating career and the world championships are both in flux.

The International Skating Union announced Monday it would indefinitely postpone and possibly cancel the annual championships, which had been scheduled to begin March 21 in Tokyo, because of the tsunami and earthquake that has devastated Japan last Friday.

"I have more questions now than I did before they made this decision,'' Bradley said.

For Bradley, this week was supposed to be a light training week where he could rest his body in preparation for the championships. But now the championships are in limbo and he said he will have to discuss his training regimen with his longtime coach Tom Zakrajsek.

"Skating is nothing, nothing in this,'' Bradley said. "It's just a tiny thing in this huge catastrophe. At least I'm safe and I've got my family and friends. But yes, this is pretty crazy and I really don't know what to do.''

Bradley is one of several skaters who train in Colorado Springs, Colo., who are wondering how this situation will be resolved. Rachael Flatt, who also trains with Zakrajsek, and the pairs team of Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin also qualified for the world championships. Flatt has competed in two world championships; Yankowskas and Coughlin, the 2011 U.S. champions, were training for their first worlds.

Bradley, 27, has made two appearances at the world championships. He placed 15th at the 2007 world championships, which were held in Tokyo, and then, hobbled by a foot injury last season, he wound up 18th in Torino. He was hoping to improve on that this time around.

What seemed to play in his favor was the fact that he got off to a late start in his training. Although he won the national crown in January in Greensboro, N.C., he struggled to get through his free skate. Now, he said, he is in better training condition and doing cleaner run throughs. He said if he were to compete at worlds, his programs will be the same as they were at nationals, with a quad-triple planned for the short and two quads in the long.

"The programs are the exact same, except that I hope to do them better,'' Bradley said. "I have been hitting everything clean over and over. I started thinking, I could really do something here at the world stage.''

Yet when it comes to Bradley, it seems oddities follow. He's practically grown accustomed to such surprises over the past year.

Bradley just missed a chance at competing at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver a year ago when he placed fourth overall at nationals. After Evan Lysacek won the gold medal in Vancouver, he withdrew from worlds and the spot became Bradley's. Excited about his shot at redemption, Bradley promptly injured his foot.

Then came this season, where he contemplated retirement only to win the national crown.

If he does not get an opportunity to compete at worlds this year, will he consider competing one more season?

Bradley laughed.

"That's just one of the many things flowing through my head right now is my future in skating,'' Bradley said. "In some ways, I am more motivated than ever, and I always said I wouldn't retire if I keep on getting better and better. But this definitely throws a wrench into those plans.''