Alysia Liu has joined US champion Mariah Bell and runner-up Karen Chen on the American figure skating team for the Beijing Olympics, even though she was forced to withdraw from the nationals following a positive COVID-19 test.
The 16-year-old Liu was in third place after her short program when she took a scheduled test and it came back positive.
She immediately told US. Figure Skating she would petition for a spot on the Olympic team, and the selection committee chose Liu based on her overall body of work.
Liu, a two-time national champion, said she’s “feeling well physically and mentally” and has been vaccinated.
Bell and Chen were introduced to the crowd at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday during a break in the men’s competition, while Liu was shown smiling and waving to fans on a large video screen.
Liu is one of the few American women who can land the high-scoring triple axel; she fell on the jump in her short program.
And she almost certainly will need to hit it – and everything else, for that matter – to push one of the heavily-favoured Russian women off the podium in Beijing.
“I got on the warmup practice ice and (Liu) wasn’t there and it just got the wheels turning,” said Chen, who made her second Olympic team after finishing 11th at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
“It’s very unfortunate that happened, but I’m really thankful I was able to compete and all the other skaters were able to stay safe and compete.”