July 5, 2022

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Maria Bell won the US figure skating title and a place in Beijing

NASHWILL – Newly formed national champion Maria Bell, who has long been a figure skater, should somehow be reminded that she somehow excelled in the sport of reducing the battalions of teenagers to a very young age.

“I was a senior Nine Years? ”He asked the reporters’ room on Friday night, looking incredulous and referring to the sport’s high level of skating.

A sea of ​​heads shook her back.

Bell, 25, won her first U.S. national championship on Friday, becoming the oldest female national singles champion in 95 years, after years of watching other great skaters come and go after surviving a tough sport with her mental and physical toughness. .

Her victory secured her place in the U.S. squad for next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, where Russian women will be the favorites in the singles category and will probably win medals. Bell is the oldest American woman to have competed in Olympic singles since 1928.

The U.S. figure skating named Bell, Karen Chen and Alyssa Liu for the Olympic team on Saturday after considering their past year-long work. Chen, a 2018 Olympian, finished second next to Bell on Friday. Liu, a two-time national champion and top American skater this fall, left the country on Friday after a positive test for the corona virus.

After finally getting Olympic Perth on hand and having a stressful and chaotic week, Bell tasted his victory and let out a long and hard breath.

The best American skaters are on the edge nationally, and not just because Olympic berths are at risk. They are training and competing in Nashville just weeks before the Beijing Games as the highly contagious Omigran variant of the corona virus spread around the world.

Competitors know that a positive test for the virus can disqualify themselves from the Olympics and ruin their lifelong dream.

Amber Glenn, one of the best skaters to be considered for the Olympic team, took a positive test on Friday, the day of the free skate. On social media, She said She had been unwell for a few days but thought it might just be nerves or allergies.

On Wednesday, Brandon Frasier, who was pairing up with Alexa Neymar, tested positive after waking up with symptoms. Frazier and Kinrim are the top ranked teams in the United States.

Also on Saturday morning, three more competitors from the country – a men’s singles skater and an ice dance troupe – tested positive, but none really competed for the Olympic team.

Fortunately for skaters who have to withdraw from this last big event before Beijing, the National Championship is not an Olympic test event, it is in some other sport, where the top favorites get automatic berths on the US Olympic team.

That difference helped Liu, who saw a free skate on Friday when he was alone in his hotel room, and could also save Frasier and Kinrim’s Olympic dreams. Championship skates, snow dancing and men’s singles competitions are scheduled for couples on Saturdays and Sundays.

However, it is not clear how long it will take for potential Olympians who are battling the virus to feel better or start a negative test, which increases their stress.

Many competitors plan to travel to China in two more weeks, and they will have to follow strict rules, including a negative test for the virus, to be allowed into the country. In some cases, people infected with the virus have been tested positive for several weeks.

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After being named to the team on Saturday, Liu Bridgestone appeared on the big screen in the arena and waved to the cheering fans. On social media on Friday, he said he was feeling better mentally and physically. At the beginning of the week, with severe symptoms, Frasier said he was feeling very bad.

Positive tests rocked the best female skaters. Sen, the 2017 national champion and 2018 Olympian, said Liu, who was scheduled to skate with him in the final group on Friday in Fremont, California, should take some time to address his concerns after realizing he was not skating. Ring.

Chen, who finished fourth at two World Championships, said, “This news was very shocking and very unfortunate to hear.” I set aside 10 minutes to think about it wholeheartedly.

The technique worked.

The 22-year-old Chen skidded with the Olympian’s skill and confidence on Friday. He was happy to win a silver medal in the national competition because he has won gold in the national competition once before and bronze three times. Only the silver medal was missing from her. Now she has a complete set.

But the skating quality shown by Sen and Bell on Friday was lower than the standards set by the world’s top female skaters from countries such as Russia, Japan and South Korea, a testament to the fact that their medal hopes in Beijing are slim.

Both American skaters did not do the four-fold jump or triple axle, they were a combination of elements that were unthinkable even four years ago, but have since become almost essential to success on the world stage. Skater, in his free skate, did not even implement the triple-triple jump combination, which was the foundation for medalists at international events, although each did one of those triple-triples on a short plan.

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Isabeau Levito of NJ, Mount Holly, landed a triple-triple on a free skate, finishing third. However, his chances of making the Olympic team did not help. At age 14, Levito did not meet the age requirements to participate in the Winter Games, but he did not care about that.

He said he felt so much light, warmth and joy in seeing what people wanted me to do because he performed so well in the country.

Bell, from Westminster in Colo, recalls his teenage days. Many times, she wanted to quit the game.

Once, she recalled, her parents bought her a set of skating lessons and told them she no longer wanted to take the lesson. Her parents said, “That’s right.” They never pushed her into the game, it really nurtured her love, he said.

On Friday, that love for skating permeated Bell’s acting. During the elegant and exciting free skate for Katy Long’s “Hallelujah” edition, she smiled and showed off even the most challenging elements with ease. Dressed in her shiny burgundy, she floated like a prima ballerina on top of the snow and slowly landed six triple jumps, as if she were weightless.

Later, Bell admitted that she was really “primitive” by the standards of women’s figure skating. But the important thing is that she is not old. If skaters are still fun, why should they have an expiration date?

“I want to be aware of the fact that skating does not end at a certain age,” he said.