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 doesn’t mean anything. There is no time limit to achieving your dream if you are passionate about it. “
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. Bell was making her ninth appearance at these championships, and she won 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 I have been striving for for quite some time. It’s so exciting and honoring, but it 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 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. The Olympics stated that the former U.S. figure skate champion was still ranked among the top five in both Grand Prix categories this season.
The teenager said she is fully vaccinated and received two negative COVID-19 tests before traveling to Nashville, Tennessee for the championships. In an Instagram post, she said that “Things do happen unfortunately but it’s what it is.”
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.
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