Mariah Bell won the US women’s figure skating championship for the first time since 1927

Mariah Bell won the US women’s figure skating championship for the first time since 1927

On Friday night, Mariah Bell skated a stunning free skate at the US figure skating championships, beating Karen Chen for her first gold medal and putting an end to any speculation about whether she’ll compete in her first Winter Olympics.

In 94 years, Bell hopes to become the oldest US Olympic women’s singles skater. On Saturday, the three-woman US team will be announced.

After a spectacular short programme, Bell gained the lead, but it took an equally incredible performance by kd lang to reach the top step of the podium with his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Chen was over three points behind her in second place after earning 140.70 points in her free skate and total 216.25 points.

Bell, who is the oldest national champion in 95 years, said, “I’m just really grateful to be here and be competing.” “I was really nervous for this program and just tried my best to stay in the moment, grab every point, and the audience is so amazing and I’m just so honored and grateful,” she says.

Isabeau Levito, who is too young to compete in the Olympics, nearly stole the show in her senior nationals debut at the age of fourteen. She received a beautiful bronze medal with 210.75 points.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates won the rhythm dance category earlier in the day, crashing through the tiniest of openings provided by training partners and friendly rivals Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

Chock and Bates, who were dancing to a medley of Billie Eilish songs, were flawless on their curve lift, tight in unison on their brilliant twizzles, and brought down the house with their finishing step sequence to score 91.94 points, the highest score ever at nationals and more than two points higher than any score posted during the Grand Prix season.

After testing positive for Covid-19, Alysa Liu, a two-time national champion who was in third place after Thursday’s short programme, was forced to withdraw from the competition on Friday. Liu, who said on social media that she is “feeling good physically and mentally,” could still make the Olympic team.

“Even though there were little things, we didn’t back off. We didn’t let up ,” said Hubbell, who finished fourth in Pyeongchang alongside Donohue. “Crap happens and then other competitors skate very well, and it is what it is.”

The competition for gold, like the race for bronze and the final spot in Beijing, will be close. Caroline Green and Michael Parsons are in first position with 80.85 points, followed by Kaitlin Hawayak and Jean-Luc Baker in fourth place with 80.85 points.

“We’ve gotten really good at focusing on what we can control. Our performance on the ice is something we’re in charge of,” Parsons said. “There’s a lot on the line for sure, but when we’re in our program, we don’t even think about it.”


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