Mariah Bell set to become oldest U.S. Olympic women’s singles figure skater since 1928
The U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Team announced its lineup for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing on Saturday. One of the skaters, 25-year-old Mariah Bell, will become the oldest woman to compete on the U.S. women’s skating team in 94 years, according to the Olympics.
“Age is literally a number,” Bell told NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce on Saturday when it was announced she had secured a spot on Team USA for the Beijing Games. “It means nothing. If you have a dream, there is no limit on the time you have to achieve that dream, for sure.”
The skater also made history on Friday at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, becoming the oldest woman to win a national title since skater Beatrix Loughran did it at age 26 in 1927, the Olympics reported. This was Bell’s ninth appearance at the championships and her first title. She finished with an overall score of 216.25.
“I’m just so grateful,” Bell, who has been skating since she was 3 years old, told NBC Sports. “It’s something that I’ve been working toward for a very long time. I’m so excited and so honored, and it still doesn’t feel real.”
Karen Chen and Alysa Liu will also join Bell in Beijing. Chen, who is 22 and was the 2017 U.S. champion, came in second at this year’s championships with an overall score of 213.85.
She wrote on Instagram that she was, “so incredibly honored to be on the #OlympicTeam! go team USA.”
The team’s third member, 16-year-old Liu, withdrew from Friday’s championships after announcing a positive COVID-19 test, according to the Olympics. But the two-time U.S. figure skating champion was ranked in the top five at both of the Grand Prix assignments this skating season, the Olympics said.
The teenager said she is fully vaccinated and received two negative COVID-19 tests before traveling to Nashville, Tennessee for the championships. “Things happen unfortunately, but it is what it is,” she wrote Friday in an Instagram story.
On Saturday, three more skaters backed out of the championships due to COVID-19, which increased the total number of withdrawals for the week to seven, according to the Associated Press.
The remainder of the Olympic figure skating team is set to be announced later this weekend after championship competitions are over, the Olympics said. The 2022 winter games are scheduled to begin February 4.