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Bradley hopes to boogie onto podium

Mahbanoozadeh is ready to roll

Ryan Bradley is ready to get the crowd in Greensboro on their feet.
Ryan Bradley is ready to get the crowd in Greensboro on their feet. (Sarah S. Brannen)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(01/28/2011) - When Ryan Bradley takes the ice for his short to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," there will be no subtleties. He's here to have some fun.

"I want to come back out and see fans and get that roar," he said. "When I do serious programs, it's usually a train wreck. I don't think I'll ever do another serious program for the rest of my career."

Bradley, who sat out the Grand Prix season after undergoing surgery in May for a broken bone in his right foot, is also here to win. And if he executes what he has planned, he's got a good shot.

The 27-year-old thinks his jumps -- including the quadruple toe loop and triple Axel -- are strong as ever, and he plans to show them off.

"I was one of those kids who learned jumps very young, I could do triples when I was nine," he said. "It was all very natural. There wasn't a lot of technique.

"When I was injured and I wasn't on the ice this summer, I was teaching a lot of seminars going over technique with kid after kid. I showed what I've been taught. When I finally got back on the ice things were just more precise, more specific. My programs don't take as much energy, because I don't have to fight for landings as much."

Bradley -- whose quad was one of his most consistent jumps last season -- is planning three four-revolution jumps in Greensboro, including a quad combination in his short and two quads in his free.

"I'm doing almost the same elements in the short and in the long [as last season]," he said. "I'm just adding another triple Axel [to the free]. Last year it was two quads and one Axel, this year it's two quads and two Axels."

Like many Colorado Springs-based skaters, the veteran is motivated by training with two-time world silver medalist Patrick Chan, who added a second quad to his free for last week's Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

"Patrick [Chan] does two quads and one Axel, but he does them a little smoother than I do," Bradley said with a laugh.

"It's just been a wonderful thing to train with Patrick, seeing someone do two quads every day in a long. You get up and you don't feel it, and then you see him and think, 'I should probably do that, too.' As competitive as I am, that's helpful."

While the quad is in the short, the triple Lutz is out. Missing that jump last season may have cost Bradley, who placed fourth behind Jeremy Abbott, Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir, a trip to 2010 Olympics.

"People think that's why I'm taking it out, but it's actually that when I was coming back from my injury Lutz was the only jump I couldn't do, because when I roll out the outside edge that's where my foot was broken," he said.

"When I initially started training I couldn't even do a Lutz, it wasn't even in my long. Now it's fine and back in the long. I haven't missed a Lutz in three months, knock on wood."

The skater's short was a pet project, designed to bring the Greensboro crowd to its feet.

"I spent a couple of months coming up with an idea and putting the choreography together on my own," he said. "Its fun, its cool and a different way to play the thing. I usually have someone there to harness me when I go too far messing around out there, but I feel like I found the balance."

Bradley, who has trained under Tom Zakrajsek for many years, will have his sister Becky by the boards in Greensboro.

"Becky been really supportive and helpful with getting me trained," he said. "She's a spin specialist, so she's helped my spins a lot.

"Tom is still my head coach. It's kind of a unique situation because when I decided to make my comeback to competitive skating, it was right when the Grand Prix started. Before I was kind of in limbo, I didn't know what I was going to do. When I started training Tom was gone for six straight weeks and when he got back, I was gone in shows. I didn't think it was fair of me to say, 'I'm back, I want your attention.' That would be a slight to his younger skaters."

Bradley, whose good looks and showmanship put him in high demand for shows, doesn't know when he will retire from competition for good. Thankfully, it's a decision he doesn't think has to be made just yet.

"The beauty of where our sport is, I can do shows all season long and still have time to train. I feel like I've got the dedication to get into the rink and practice. It's kind of best of both worlds."

Mahbanoozadeh hopes to make his mark

Proofreaders get ready. Armin Mahbanoozadeh has arrived in Greensboro fit and confident.

The skater -- who had a break out performance at Skate America, where he won the bronze medal -- is ready to tackle his short, choreographed by Irina Romanova to Jesse Cook music.

"I'm taking one day at a time and I'm just trying to stay focused and in the moment," he said. "I think it's probably really important here when I compete not to get ahead of myself. I'm training pretty well and that's where my confidence comes from, not Skate America."

Priscilla Hill, who trains Mahbanoozadeh in Wilmington, Del., could not be happier with her skater.

"He's been training very well," she said. "I'm excited for him because it's been a very good season. He's learned a lot about himself and his training, as well. He's excited to be here and show everybody else what he's been doing."

Mahbanoozadeh and Hill had considered adding a quad toe to his free skate at the beginning of the season, but had to scrap the thought.

"Maybe a month and a half ago that would have been the case but I had to stop [training] them because of a potential stress fracture in my leg," Mahbanoozadeh said. "I think it's a must for next season.

"The first few competitions next season will be a great time to just put it out there. Nationals would have been a little too soon. I want to get experience early next year because I think the new generation of men has quads, so it will be very important."