Myers has coached competitive skaters for more than 30 years, including Lake Forest's Megan Hyatt, who won the 2006 junior title. But Tennell is her first Olympian.
Tennell has skated most of her life at Twin Rinks in Buffalo Grove. She now starts most mornings by teaching lessons to young children at the rink before her own practices.
After winning the national title and earning her way onto the Olympic team, supporters at the rink hung long white poster paper where fans wrote messages to Tennell. In multicolored markers, hearts were drawn and dozens of messages read:
"So amazed and proud of you. Hope you have the time of your life at the Olympics." "Enjoy every moment." "You did so great and we are all so excited."
Tennell said she has remained with her coach and rink for a simple reason.
"I have a lot of memories when I was younger watching the bigger kids," she said. "I would watch them do triples and think I want to do that one day. I loved how fast everybody moved. When I came here, I was not very good. I found inspiration in them."
Before competitions, Tennell said she doesn't get nervous. Her coach doesn't think the lofty Olympic expectations will frazzle her.
"I don't think she's overly concerned about expectations from anybody else," Myers said. "She has a standard she set for herself, and together we know what she wants to accomplish. That's what she's shooting for."
Tennell said she's excited to experience the opening ceremony. Mostly, she said, she's eager to compete again, adding:
"I've been working for it my entire life."
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