Solène: How do you feel?
Bradie: That is not an easy question. My Snapchat memories from last year are popping up. I saw pictures of my foot. I remembered I was crying on my couch last year because I was missing the Grand Prix. Now I'm in Sheffield competing. I know I've never skated a programme that badly in my life but I'm honestly so happy. I did not give up although I struggled so much the past year. Seeing these pictures reminds me how much I was wishing, with everything in me, that I was even able to go out and do that. For me that is a big accomplishment. I did not take the easy way out. I'm so proud of myself for working through everything that has come at me. Coming back has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I'm so grateful that I have a team surrounding me who is there for me, and believes in me, even when I don't believe in myself. It is both a physical and mental problem. I have never been so nervous in my entire life than for the short programme in Sheffield. Even skating at the Olympics was not as stressful. When I heard the announcer say my name, I wanted to cry because being able to share my passion, do what I love on a world stage and represent my country is very important to me. It is such a responsibility which I don't ever take for granted. I did not think I would ever hear my name in a competition again. For the free programme I was more focused but I knew it was going to be more difficult because it is longer. I tried to give everything that I had. I made some silly mistakes but it gives me a really good base.
Solène: Can you tell us about the message of your free programme?
Bradie: I'm so happy you asked! Basically at the beginning I'm a magical statue in a garden. I'm the ‘Thinker' by Rodin. I was created as the last defense against the climate crisis. I'm waking up after being asleep since the beginnings of time. The first part is about the anger and desperation that humans have let the climate crisis get this bad. Then in the middle it becomes more hopeful. At the end my footwork represents the fight to restore everything we have damaged. When I go back to being a sleeping statue it means I've fixed the crisis. When Benoit (Richaud) came to me with this idea, I absolutely fell in love, I wanted to do this. Global warming and the climate crisis are important topics to me. I try my best to live sustainably. In my house I'm the recycling police! This programme is a really good way to connect my passion for skating with the real world and things that are happening outside of the sport. Sometimes sport kind of gets caught up in its own thing. It was a good way for me to spread a message beyond skating and make people aware that global warming is a problem. I think Greta Thunberg is an amazing human being. I'm really excited about this programme and I can't wait to go back and work on the programme so I can deliver the story more effectively.
Solène: You are training in France now. How do you like it?
Bradie: I love it! It is beautiful and very different from Chicago! It's a great environment, I love my coaches and I feel so lucky that I'm able to train there. I don't speak French, I can only ask how someone is and say hello. That's pretty much it ... but I'm learning. I've always wanted to learn another language. In America Spanish is more popular, so I'm a bit better at Spanish.
Solène: You are training with Adam Siao Him Fa. How is it going?
Bradie: Amazing! We kind of feed off each other. When he was at the Grand Prix in France the energy in the rink was different. I was thinking that I wished he was here with his crazy flip or I don't know how he calls it. I love the energy he brings to the ice and he works so hard. Training with him is really fun!
Solène MATHIEU for Skate Info Glace - Reviewed by Louise CLYNE