Mariah Bell wins U.S. Nationals; Madison Chock and Evan Bates lead after rhythm dance

Karen Chen, Mariah Bell, Isabeau Levito, and Gabriella Izzo pose with their medals after the women’s competition during the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Bridgestone Arena on January 07, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships saw the first medal recipients of the senior events heading into the weekend – a three-time national medalist prior to this season, Mariah Bell celebrated her first national title and essentially punched her ticket to the 2022 Winter Olympics next month.

Leader after the short program, the 25-year-old figure skater presented her free skate program to Hallelujah by K.D. Lang – the same music she used in 2020, when she delivered a memorable performance and just narrowly lost out to Alysa Liu. Bell began her routine with a triple flip-double toe loop combination and a triple loop, before completing a triple Salchow and a double axel. In the second half of the program, she landed a triple flip-double toe loop-double loop combination, a triple Lutz-double axel in a sequence, and a triple Lutz. She received a score of 140.70 points for the free skate and earned a total competition result of 216.25 points.

2017 champion Karen Chen won her sixth medal at the national championships but it was her first silver. Skating to Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto by Takako Nishizaki, the 22-year-old started her free skate performance with a double axel-triple toe loop combination – the toe loop being under-rotated – and then completed a triple flip, a triple Salchow, and a triple loop. Chen later landed a triple Lutz-double toe loop-double loop combination, a solo triple Lutz, and a triple loop-double toe loop combination. The last three jumps were determined to be a quarter-under-rotated. Nevertheless, the 2018 Olympian received a score of 139.30 points for the performance and earned a total competition score of 213.85 points.

2021 U.S. junior national champion Isabeau Levito presented the second highest scored free skate performance and claimed the bronze medal in her first senior level national championships. The 14-year-old figure skater kicked off her program with a double axel, a triple Lutz, a triple loop, and another double axel. Skating to Russian Dance by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Levito later completed a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, a triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow combination, and a triple flip-double toe loop combination. She received a score of 139.75 points for the performance and earned a total competition score of 210.75 points.

Seventh after the shorth program, 2019 U.S. junior national champion Gabriella Izzo moved up to fourth place after the free skate and won the pewter medal. The 20-year-old began her fast-paced performance with a double axel-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip-double toe loop combination, a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination, and a triple loop. In the second half of the performance, Izzo lost momentum after falling on a triple flip and only completing a single Lutz, but still managed a successful double axel for the final jump. She received a score of 120.60 points for the free skate and earned a total competition score of 188.11 points.

The competition was also noted for two major withdrawals due to positive COVID-19 test results in the morning of the free skate day – including Alysa Liu and Amber Glenn. Liu had been third after the short program, while Glenn was fourteenth.

Final Results

  1. Mariah Bell – 216.25
  2. Karen Chen – 213.85
  3. Isabeau Levito – 210.75
  4. Gabriella Izzo – 188.11
  5. Lindsay Thorngren – 186.38
  6. Audrey Shin – 180.58
  7. Kate Wang – 178.20
  8. Hanna Harrell – 175.66
  9. Starr Andrews – 173.04
  10. Gracie Gold – 171.92
  11. Jill Heiner – 171.54
  12. Sierra Venetta – 164.24
  13. Rena Ikenishi – 158.69
  14. Wren Warne-Jacobsen – 143.39
    WD – Alysa Liu – 3rd after SP (71.42)
    WD – Amber Glenn – 14th after SP (54.80)

Judges’ Scores


Madison Chock and Evan Bates during their rhythm dance performance at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Bridgestone Arena on January 07, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

On Friday, the ice dancers began their battle for the national titles – the top two American couples claimed the top two positions after the rhythm dance, while a number of other contenders for the third Olympic spot look to tomorrow’s free skate event to determine the fate of the bronze medal position.

Two-time U.S. national champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates have medaled at the past nine consecutive national championships and are currently in the lead of the ice dance discipline. Skating to a mixture of Billie Eilish’s music, the former World medalists presented a clean rhythm dance performance with level four ratings and high grades of execution for every element. They received a score of 91.94 points – even higher than the current world record of 90.03 points, which belongs to Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Reigning title holders Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donahue find themselves in a similar position as last year – when they were second after the rhythm dance, but eventually climbed to first place after the free dance. Presenting their short program to music by Janet Jackson, the three-time U.S. champions trail the leaders by just about a point and a half. Hubbell and Donahue earned a rhythm dance score of 89.39 points.

Third year team Caroline Green and Michael Parsons were fifth in 2020, fourth last year, and are currently in third place after today’s rhythm dance performance. Green and Parsons received a slightly lower program component score than current fourth place holders Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker but made up for it with better technical content. They earned a score of 80.85 points for their presentation – leading Hawayek and Baker, who earned a score of 79.39 points.

Final Results

  1. Madison Chock & Evan Bates – 91.94
  2. Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donahue – 89.39
  3. Caroline Green & Michael Parsons – 80.85
  4. Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker – 79.39
  5. Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko – 77.90
  6. Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville – 76.70
  7. Katarina Wolfkostin & Jeffrey Chen – 75.28
  8. Eva Pate & Logan Bye – 73.06
  9. Lorraine McNamara & Anton Spiridonov – 73.04
  10. Molly Cesanek & Yehor Yehorov – 70.07
  11. Raffaella Koncius & Alexey Shchepetov – 52.63
  12. Livvy Shilling & Ryan O’Donnell – 50.90
  13. Cayla Cottrell & Uladzislau Palkouski – 49.82
  14. Cara Murphy & Joshau Levitt – 40.49

Judges’ Scores

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