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Olympic skater Bradie Tennell makes rare mistake

Bradie Tennell

Bradie Tennell of the United States performs during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

American figure skater Bradie Tennell fell during the opening combination in her short program at the Pyeongchang Olympics, such a rare mistake that not even she can remember the last time she made it.

Tennell, whose strength is her jumps, recovered to skate cleanly the rest of the way. The reigning national champion wound up with 64.01 points. As the first skater on the ice, that total should keep her in first place for quite a while.

The rest of the medal contenders all skate about two hours later.

“It was definitely unexpected,” Tennell said of her fall on a triple toe loop, “but things happen. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. You just have to get up and keep going.”

The starting order is determined in part by world rankings, and Tennell dealt with injuries much of last season and did not compete in the biggest events. That forced her into the opening group, and she drew the No. 1 starting spot from among those skaters

Bradie Tennell

Bradie Tennell of the United States falls while performing during the women’s short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)