COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Ryan Bradley is going out on top.
The 27-year-old announced his retirement Tuesday, five months after winning his first U.S. figure skating title. He has been competing internationally for more than a decade, and finished 13th at the world championships last month in Moscow.
"This has been a long road and a great ride," Bradley said in a statement. "Becoming U.S. champion was a dream come true, and I'm now at a point in my life where I can look back on my career and feel completely content."
Bradley was long a fan favorite for his playful, theatrical programs. But after finishing fourth at the 2010 U.S. championships and missing the Olympic team, he figured it was time to hang it up. He even did a back flip as he left the ice, his way of saying goodbye. Though he never officially announced his retirement, fans bombarded his Facebook and Twitter accounts with pleas to return.
Bradley returned in mid-October with the intention of competing at the national championships in January. Despite the few months of training, Bradley put on the performance of his career in the short program with a blend of athleticism and artistry that pleased both the fans and judges.
His free skate was flawed, but it was solid enough to earn him his first title.
"I am looking forward to staying involved in the sport of figure skating," said Bradley, who plans to retain his eligibility. "I want to use my knowledge and passion to keep the sport moving in the right direction."