At 25 years old, U.S. figure skater Mariah Bell made her long-awaited Olympic debut at the 2022 Beijing Games on Tuesday, becoming the oldest U.S. women's singles skater at the competition since 1928.
Bell overcame a fall on the triple-triple during her opening combination to finish with a score of 65.38 in the women's short program.
That placed her second at the time behind Anastasia Gubanova of Georgia (65.40). The top 24 skaters in the field of 30 advance to Thursday's finals. ROC star Kamila Valieva, embroiled in a doping scandal, stood in first place with a score of 82.16.
You wouldn't exactly think of 25 as "old" but being the oldest women's singles skater at the Olympics in nearly 100 years isn't the only age distinction she has. Bell also became the oldest woman in 95 years to win the national championship.
Bell, a Colorado homer who was born in Oklahoma, finally broke through at nationals in her ninth appearance, winning both the short program and free skate to earn her long-awaited Olympic trip.
Though it's her first, she says she's more than ready.
“I think there’s a lot to say about experience," said Bell, whose score of 216.25 points at nationals was far behind the world-record 272.71 set by Russia’s Kamila Valieva this season. “You can tap into experience and really use it to your advantage in a lot of situations, and I definitely have that."
Bell started skating when she was just 3 years old. She has one sister, Morgan, who also competes, and has been coached by figure skating icon Adam Rippon.
Learn more about the USA figure skating team featuring in the Olympics here. And check the schedule for all your favorite skating stars.