US champion Mariah Bell headlines Olympic figure skating team

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Mariah Bell, Karen Chen and Alysa Liu are heading to Beijing, with all three athletes named to the United States’ Olympic figure skating team.

Bell and Chen earned their spots on the squad after clinching first and second place, respectively, at the national championships.

Liu, 16, did not participate in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19 and withdrawing from the competition. The American teen successfully petitioned for an Olympic roster spot after being unable to take the ice.

Boasting the highest international score this season, Liu is considered Team USA’s best shot at an individual medal.

Bell, 25, is the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater since 1928 and the oldest national champion since 1927. Her 2022 title-sealing performance was her ninth appearance at nationals.

“Age is literally a number. It means nothing,” Bell told NBC Sports. “And if you have a dream, there is no limit on the time that you have to achieve that dream.”

Chen joins Bell as a U.S. figure skating veteran. The 22-year-old will become the first American skater since Sasha Cohen in 2002 and 2006 to compete in back-to-back Olympics.

Team USA’s alternates were also announced on Saturday. Lindsay Thorngren, Amber Glenn and Gabriella Izzo will all travel to Beijing in the event any skaters are unable to compete.