American figure skater Bradie Tennell announces coaching change

U.S. champion and PyeongChang Olympic team event bronze medallist Bradie Tennell has revealed that she will switch coaches to Tom Zakrajsek in Colorado.

By Nick McCarvel

The figure skating coaching carousel continues to turn.

Bradie Tennell, the 2018 U.S. champion and PyeongChang bronze medallist in the figure skating team event, announced on Friday that she was making a move from longtime coach Denise Myers to Tom Zakrajsek.

"I want to thank Denise and Jeremy (Allen) for standing by me on my skating journey thus far,” Tennell said in a statement released by US Figure Skating. “I am looking forward to moving to Colorado Springs and getting to work as I prepare for the 2020-21 season and beyond.”

Tennell, a Chicago-area native, had been trained by Meyers since 2007, when she was just nine. She had a breakout season in 2017-18, winning bronze at her first-ever Grand Prix assignment at Skate America and then capturing the U.S. women’s title ahead of the Winter Games.

The move comes as big-name figure skaters make coaching changes around the world, notably Russians Alena Kostornaia and Alexandra Trusova, both who had successful seasons this past year, leaving famed coach Eteri Tutberidze for 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko.

American Alysa Liu, the two-time and reigning U.S. champ, also announced this summer that she would go from childhood coach Laura Lipetsky to a trio of coaches, including Lee Barkell, Lori Nichol and Massimo Scali.

Liu, who turned 15 earlier this month, is not eligible for senior international events until next season. She will continue to be based in Oakland, Calif., where she is from.

Tennell, however, plans to make the move from suburban Chicago to the Colorado Springs, Colo., area, where Zakrajsek is based. He’s previously coached Mirai Nagasu, Vincent Zhou, Jeremy Abbott and other top international skaters.

Zhou, who had also worked in Colorado with Tammy Gambill and Christy Krall, announced his move in January of 2020, joining Barkell and Nichol.

Coach Zakrajsek took to Twitter just hours after the announcement was made, saying that Tennell was working on adding to her technical prowess with both a triple Axel and "a couple" of quad jumps. Tennell previously did not attempt any of those jumps in competition.

Tennell finished in third place at the 2020 U.S. Championships behind Liu and Mariah Bell. The U.S. will look to reclaim a third spot for Beijing 2022 at the world championships next spring in Stockholm, the to-be-selected skaters (it would have been Bell and Tennell this last year) needing to finish with a combined total of 13 places or under.

At the world championships in 2019 in Saitama, Japan, Tennell was seventh and Bell ninth (for 16 places total).