Bradley gives fans a thrill, wins short program

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Ryan Bradley sure knows how to give fans what they want.

Three months after a fan campaign on Twitter and Facebook convinced him to put retirement on hold, Bradley stole the show from two-time national champion Jeremy Abbott on Friday night, winning the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Bradley's flawless and fabulously entertaining program to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" earned him 80.39 points, putting him exactly two points ahead of Abbott. Brandon Mroz is a distant third heading into Sunday's free skate.

"When I started training again, if I wasn't prepared to make a push at the title, to have a chance of winning it, I didn't want to be here," Bradley said. "I got off the plane and I felt something in the air. I plan on staying on top."

Earlier Friday, Olympic and world silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White took a big step toward another U.S. title with a commanding win in the short dance. They're almost six points ahead of training mates Maia and Alex Shibutani, with the free dance Saturday.

Dressed in an authentic military uniform — or as close to authentic you can get in skating spandex — Bradley opened his program with a monstrous quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination, the only quad-triple of the night. He followed with a triple axel that had so much hang time, it rivaled any pairs throw jump.

His footwork alone gave fans their money's worth. He boogied his way across the ice, snapping his fingers, smiling and flirting with just about everyone in the arena. He had the audience clapping and cheering, and it was on its feet before he finished his final spin.

Bradley blew kisses to the crowd and pounded his chest as he left ice. When he saw his marks, he jumped to his feet, the smile on his face lighting up the entire arena.

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