No individual woman 25 or older has figure skated for Team USA in the Winter Olympics since 1928. Mariah Bell will break the 94-year drought February in Beijing.
The 25-year-old Bell won the women's portion of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday, making her the oldest national champion in 95 years and punching her ticket to the 2022 Winter Olympics. This was her ninth attempt at a national title and first win.
Mariah Bell, 2022 U.S. Champion 🏆— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) January 8, 2022
At age 25, she is the oldest U.S. women’s figure skating champion in 95 years.@USFigureSkating x #ToyotaUSChamps22 pic.twitter.com/PK3djiQwwP
"I had chills," Bell said on USA Network. "I have this part of me that's just, like, so gritty. When I really need to do something, I can tap into it."
2018 Olympian Karen Chen and two-time national champion Alysa Liu will join Bell in Beijing. Chen placed second in the championships, but Liu couldn't complete her title run after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Since the third-place finisher Isabeau Levito is only 14 years old, making her ineligible for the 2022 Olympics, Liu will take her spot – assuming the 22-year-old produces multiple negative COVID-19 tests before heading to Beijing.
The three men, three ice dance teams and two pairs comprising the rest of the U.S. figure skating team will be announced Sunday.