Hours after getting off a flight from Japan and running on little sleep, former U.S. men's figure skating champion Ryan Bradley was game to be the first skater on fresh ice at the CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Much of the ice at the arena was covered by pads Thursday as workers pasted new logos on panels around the rink and adjusted the lights for the coming U.S. Figure Skating Championships. But Bradley, in town to promote the event, had no problem pulling off a handful of triple jumps and a back flip on a small section of the ice. (The back flip, he said, was an “easy” trick.)
The St. Joseph, Mo., native, who won the national championships in 2011, is one of several former champions attending the Omaha competition. Among the others: Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, Tara Lipinski, Sasha Cohen and Rudy Galindo. Bradley will serve as a commentator for icenetwork.com, a skating news website.
Local organizers are spending the week preparing the three sheets of ice that will be housed in the arena and a FanFest area that will feature interactive games and stage where skaters will sign autographs. Several U.S. Skating officials have arrived in Omaha, and skaters will be filling local hotels in the next few days.
Tickets are still available for each session, including the weekend events featuring the top senior-level skaters. Organizers say they've sold close to 34,000 tickets.
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U.S. Figure Skating Championships
When: Sunday to Jan. 27 at the CenturyLink Center.
Features: Begins with novice and junior-level competition early in the week, with senior-level skaters taking the ice starting Thursday. The Championships will end with an exhibition skate by the medalists.
Jan. 24: 4 p.m. pairs short program, 7 p.m. ladies short program
Jan. 25: 2 p.m. short dance, 7:30 p.m. men's short program
Jan. 26: 10 a.m. pairs free skate and free dance, 1:35 p.m. pairs free skate and free dance, 5:45 p.m. ladies free skate
Jan. 27: 12:45 p.m. men's free skate, 5:45 p.m. Smucker's Skating Spectacular
>> Video: Members of the World-Herald staff put their skating skills to the test for a media skate at the CenturyLink Center Omaha. 2011 men's U.S. Figure Skating Champion Ryan Bradley was there to offer some pointers, as well as to show off some moves of his own.