Ryan Bradley initially discovered the sport of figure skating at age two, after following his older sister to her lessons. He participated in the USFSA Basic Skills Program from 1986-1988.
While training at the Bode Ice Arena in his birthplace of St. Joseph, Ryan met Tom Zakrajsek and began taking lessons from him. In August of 1996, Zakrajsek relocated to Colorado Springs. The Bradley family also made the move, so Ryan could continue to train with his coach at the World Arena.
From 1996-1998 he competed in pairs with partner Tiffany Vise. Ryan’s father, Douglas, is a family practice physician. His mother, Barbara, is a USFSA judge; and his older sister, Becky, is a figure skating coach at the World Arena.
Ryan lives at home and enjoys a wide variety of sports; including baseball, basketball, and in-line hockey. The athlete he most admires is Michael Jorden, for his total effort as an athlete.
In 1997, Ryan made the National podium with a silver medal at the 1998 U.S. Novice National Championships. He has competed on the Junior Grand Prix circuit since 1998, the year he achieved gold at the 1999 U.S. Nationals at the Junior level.
In 1999, he debuted at U.S. Nationals as a Senior, finishing in 7th place. Unfortunately, a painful knee fracture discovered in August of 2000 forced Ryan to reduce his training for the rest of the season. Regardless, he achieved three Junior Grand Prix titles. He entered the 2001 U.S. Nationals having had little time to prepare and during the week developed the flu.
Despite these setbacks, Ryan accomplished a 9th place finish and earned his third consecutive spot on the Junior World Team. Later, he relinquished this position due to lack of preparedness caused by the progression of his knee injury. Ryan had knee surgery in February of 2001and was off the ice until April of that year.
Following another top-ten placement at Nationals and a berth on the Junior World team in 2002, Ryan is spending his summer preparing for the 2002/2003 season and will debut with new and exciting changes. Ryan’s ultimate goal for his figure skating career is to make the 2006 United States Winter Olympic Team.
Paula: What are your goals for this upcoming season?
Ryan: My goal for this upcoming season is to prove myself as a competitive Senior man and make a run for the world team.
Angie: What is your favorite part of skating?
Ryan: My favorite part of skating would have to be learning new elements and perfecting them. I enjoy a good challenge. 🙂
Tina: Who are your favorite skaters and why?
Ryan: My favorite skaters are Scott Hamilton for his ability to present, Todd Eldredge for his power across the ice, and Michael Weiss for his raw strength and athleticism.
Garrett: How long did it take you to get your Axel? Double Axel?
Ryan: My single Axel took me about 3 months, and my double took 9 months. I know you didn’t ask this but I thought I would throw in that my triple Axel took me 4 years. 🙂
Anonymous: What events to do you plan to compete in this upcoming season?
Ryan: This year I plan on competing at Liberty Open and then my qualifying competitions, and hopefully, Worlds as well. As of now, I do not know about my international assignments.
Anonymous: I have heard that you are including some new and exciting things in your new programs for this year. Is this true and what are they?
Ryan: I have been working on some new things in my program but we are not sure if they will stay in for the final product. The one that most stands out for me is a kip-up at the end of my short program. It is borderline illegal so we might still take it out.
Paula: What music will you be using in your programs this season?
Ryan: My short will be “Fiddler on the Roof“. It is very exciting and I think that it will be a great program. My long is to “Light Cavalry,” more of a military type program but I also like this one a lot. It’s a good step toward my being more serious.
Paula: Is there any particular piece of music that you would like to skate to that you haven’t had the opportunity to do so? Can you elaborate?
Ryan: I have had a dream to skate to Star Wars, and to have a light saber fight as my straight line footwork……but for some reason my coach won’t go for it.
Paula: Is there any particular music you absolutely refuse to skate to and if so, why?
Ryan: I try not to skate to anything too soft. I think that figure skating has enough of a soft reputation and I would like to make it more of an exciting sport when people watch me.
Paula: How do you choose your music? What kind of music inspires you?
Ryan: I sit around with my coaches and we listen to lots of different ideas. When something makes me want to get up and skate we usually go with it. You can’t beat something that you can get your heart into.
Paula: Are or have you been practicing any quad jumps? Do you have any plans to do so in the future?
Ryan: I have been practicing quad Sal, and Toe. I can hit the Toe pretty well when I am healthy and the sal on really good jumping days. I have been working on the loop as well but I don’t think you want to know how that turns out.
Sk8Bunny: How does it feel to be training at the World Arena and know that your one of their most elite athletes? What motivates you go to the rink day after day and train long hours? And also, what are your plans for the future? Are you planning to try for 2006? If so, Good Luck!
Ryan: Skating at the World Arena is as I would say “Perfect”. I love the rink and it is so competitive that you always need to improve to stay on top. It takes a lot of work but it is a lot of fun if working hard is your thing. My #1 goal as of right now is the 2006 Olympics. It has been my dream for a while and I really think I have a chance at mixing things up there.
Anonymous: Do you have a consistent triple axle yet? Have you stopped growing?
Ryan: Finally! I have my triple Axel. Wahhoo! It is consistent but a little wild when I am tired. I cannot wait to show it off at nationals this year. Also, I have finally stopped growing! The whole 6 foot tall figure skater thing is a little rougher than you would think so I am glad to level off.
Anonymous: What has been the coolest place you’ve ever been because of skating?
Ryan: I went to Venice, Italy in the spring of 1998 after my first international competition in Slovenia. It was a beautiful place and I wish to go back someday soon. Maybe a side trip in about 4 years….If I am in the area 😉
Gerry: Who is your favorite female skater and why? If Michelle Kwan were to be “available,” would you consider asking her out?
Ryan: Michelle is my favorite female skater. As far as asking her out… I might just pass out if I were to attempt to ask her out.
Stephanie: You guest skated at the Skokie Skatium in 2000. Do you remember hearing a girl scream like crazy when you skated?
Ryan: Well I don’t remember right off, but if you scream louder next time I will make note of it!
Anonymous: Hi Ryan. All of us young ladies are dying to know: Boxers or Briefs?
Ryan: Well thank the Lord that you can’t see someone blushing over the computer! Though the answer would be……Boxers. Hope you didn’t put any money on briefs.
Gary: I saw the fluff piece about your other interest being wrestling. How serious are you in doing that? Are you actually going to pursue a career in it in the future?
Ryan: Wrestling is something that still links me back to my childhood. I really enjoy messing around, but I don’t think I would consider it as a profession in the future. Though I am putting serious thought into Shoot-Fighting once my competitive skating career is over.
Paula: Who would you consider to be your greatest influence in your skating?
Ryan: I would have to say my parents. They support me whether I skate well or not. Since they don’t put pressure on me to always do well, I can focus on my skating rather than what would happen if I weren’t to do well. They are really good to me and I love them very much. (I am a really lucky kid.)
Paula: What was the hardest skill or element for you to learn and how long did it take you to finally master it?
Ryan: Well, all of you who have been following my skating over the years have noticed that there was no triple Axel. This spring I learned it after 4 long years of frustration. Yay!
Paula: During your competitive career thus far, what was your most embarrassing moment or occurrence? Is there anything you can share with the public that we don’t know already?
Ryan: At the 2000 Nationals in Cleveland after my short program a few of my friends threw me a naked blow up doll. At the time, I wasn’t expecting to place very well so I carried it with me to the Kiss and Cry thinking it was funny. Lo and behold I go home and see a tape of me and my naked doll on ESPN! What a pleasant suprise that was!
Paula: What do you feel are your strengths in skating?
Ryan: I would say my greatest strength in skating is selling a program. I love to interact with the audience and make some smiles appear in the crowd. 🙂
Paula: What areas do you feel could be improved in?
Ryan: If you haven’t noticed, I get a little lazy with my spins at the end of my programs.
Paula: What is your favorite jump to perform and which do you feel is the most difficult?
Ryan: As of right now, my triple Axel is my favorite jump to perform. My most difficult would have to be the quad Sal……or a double lutz. 🙂
Paula: Looking back at your competitive history, which competition was the most memorable and why?
Ryan: 1999 Nationals in Salt Lake City. I was Junior National Champion. It stands out because I could tell my friends that I was the best in the country.
Paula: Thank you for taking the time to answer questions from your fans! Is there anything you’d like to add?
Ryan: I would Just like to thank all of you for the support you have given throughout the years. Its been a long hard road but you’ve all been there with me. Thanx again! — Ryan Bradley