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Figure Skating With A Champion

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By:  Melina Matthes
MMatthes@kptm.com

OMAHA (kptm) - The ice is ready and skaters are arriving in Omaha.  This Sunday is the start of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and Fox 42's Melina Matthes spent the day at the rink learning from one of the best.

"I don't really remember not skating."

Ryan Bradley has been figure skating ever since he was two years old.  In 2011, he won the title of U.S. Men's Figure Skating Champion.  "I was really surprised actually, I knew that I had this skill set to be competitive.  I didn't have my best skate and I assumed that I would've needed my best skate to win so I was really shocked," Bradley says.

But he says the road to victory wasn't always easy.  "The triple axel is another really big element that actually took me four years to learn, which was quite a stumbling block for me because I was really fast tracked at a very young age and then you get to an element you have a hard time learning and people kind of forget about you, ya know, cause when someone takes a few years to learn something you kind of think they're never going to get it."

But he finally did get it and now he's in Omaha for the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championship.  And even though he's extremely busy he took time out of his schedule to teach me a few tricks.  So I laced up my skates for the first time in over 10 years and hit the ice.  "It's definitely a workout." 

He may be retired from the professional circuit but he still loves to tour the country and teach even the beginners.  "It's fun ya know, it's definitely interesting the kids are really excited about it and the adults are really scared about it."

And scared I was, "it's a little intimidating.  I can't go backwards."

While Bradley enjoys watching the adults learn, he says teaching children is the most gratifying.  "It's rewarding getting to see these kids that are where I was 10-15 years ago and try to help them, guide them along their way, it's a pretty cool perk of the job," Bradley says.

And now Bradley encourages everyone to see him and the other skaters this coming week at the CenturyLink Center.  "These kids out here putting everything on the line, there's a lot of heartache and a lot of devastation and a lot of relief and a lot of exhuberation.  It's just, so many emotions wrapped up in one event, it's unbelievable.  It's definitely an emotional roller coaster."

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships start this Sunday the 20th and runs through the 27th.

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