Figure skating: Tennell reacts to cancellation of world championships

Bradie Tennell’s suitcase was half packed.

The 22-year-old figure skater, who lives with her family in Cary, arrived home from training Wednesday and her phone “started buzzing like crazy.”

The World Figure Skating Championships had been canceled because of coronavirus concerns. Tennell’s figure skating season was over.

“It was all over my social media,” Tennell said. “My jaw just dropped, I didn’t know what to say. It’s crazy.”

Tennell finished third at the U.S. Championships in January and third at the Four Continents event in February. She was scheduled to fly to Montreal for the World Championships on Sunday. The event was scheduled to run from Monday to March 22 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Instead, the international figure skating season came to an abrupt end.

“It’s a really big pill to swallow,” Tennell said. “It’s a shock. And don’t get me wrong, I completely understand and respect the decision. The safety and health of everybody involved is always going to be the priority.”

Tennell had been training daily at Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove, where she has trained with coach Denise Myers for years.

The International Skating Union announced Wednesday that the Quebec government had canceled the event, at a time when many other major professional sports postponed or canceled events in the coming weeks.

“I was so excited,” Tennell said. “It’s always an amazing feat to make it on the world team, to represent your country at the world level. I was so excited to go and compete. I felt really good. I’ve been feeling really prepared and super confident. I still can’t really believe it.”

Tennell had just competed in the Four Continents in early February, which was held in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea is reporting more than 7,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus, although that number wasn’t quite so high a month ago.

Tennell said skaters at Four Continents took their temperatures every time they entered the arena, and they were checked again at the hotel. She said the audience was required to wear respiratory masks in the stands.

“When we looked up into the stands, every single person had a mask on. It was super weird,” Tennell said. “I almost felt like I was in an episode of some SciFi show.”

Tennell, who is continuing to train for the time being, said she likely will take some time away from the rink in the coming weeks before starting preparations for next season.