COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Olympic City has quite the history when it comes to Team USA figure skating. Right now there are several World competitors and Olympians training at the Broadmoor World Arena.
The rink has figured out a way to keep skaters safe and on the ice amid COVID restrictions. And now for the first time in more than a year, two National Champions are getting ready for a big competition on the world stage.
A year into the pandemic and the Broadmoor Ice Hall has been able to transform the rink into a COVID bubble, so that these elite figure skaters can stay on the ice.
Amongst the crowd are two leading ladies. You've got Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen. Both National Champions, both 2018 Olympians and now training mates.
"We're both working really hard and trying to be the best we can be," says Bradie Tennell.
Tennell and Chen previously skated in other parts of the country, but recently came to Colorado Springs for coaching.
"Here there are so many elite-level skaters and so it was a big change, but I have grown to love it and I really do feel like this is the right training environment for me and this is where I can get the most done," says Karen Chen.
The two are getting in done in the strangest of times. Practicing in masks for a year of unknowns. They haven't been able to compete as much as they normally would, but are coming off a good showing at this years U.S. Figure Skating Championship. Chen landing with the bronze. Tennell skating away with the gold.
"It felt amazing, it was everything I had been working for and I'm so grateful that we had the opportunity to compete," says Tennell. "I know not every nation was able to host their Nationals."
Tennell and Chen are now working to fine tune their programs and jumps because next week they're off to the World Championships in Sweden. The event was cancelled last year due to COVID. But now that it's happening, there's a lot on the line because it's one of the last events where the best in the world will square off before the 2022 Winter Olympics.
"Everyone is taking safety precautions and I will be doing the same," says Chen. "It is happening and my head is in the game and I'm just ready to give it my all."
Clearly, they're no strangers to the pressure of this competition and what's to come with Beijing right around the corner.
"I want to put out two solid performances, especially with this being the last competition of the season I want it to be my best performance and I'm just focused on that being my goal," says Chen.
Placement aside, Tennell and Chen are just happy Worlds is a go after the roller-coaster season it's been.
"I think this year my programs are probably two of the best that I've ever had so I am really excited that I do get to perform them again," says Tennell.
Tennell and Chen leave for Stockholm Friday. They're hoping to place high enough at the event that they qualify three ladies to represent the United States at the Winter Olympics in February.