With the 2022 US Figure Skating Championships coming to a close last weekend, the US Olympic Figure Skating Team has been made official — and friends, we’ve got some fun skaters to watch in Beijing. There’s three-time world champion and quad king Nathan Chen, history-making 16-year-old Alysa Liu, and pairs skater Timothy LeDuc, who is the first out nonbinary Winter Olympian in history. In ice dancing, the couples of Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue have traded national championships for a few years now; we could see either pair (or both!) on the podium in Beijing. To put it simply, there’ll be a lot to watch on Olympic ice this year.
In the US, Olympic figure skating teams aren’t chosen just based on performance at nationals; in other words, nationals don’t double as a kind of Olympic Trials. US Figure Skating selected skaters based on their overall body of work and consistency as well as their performances last weekend, which of course led to some difficult decisions. On the men’s side, rising star Ilia Malinin placed second at nationals while nailing a handful of difficult quad jumps. (He’s only 17, btw.) However, the selection committee decided fourth-place finisher Jason Brown would join Chen and fellow 2018 Olympian Vincent Zhou in Beijing, causing some heated debate in the figure skating community. (Our take: they’re both worthy, and we’re just glad we weren’t the ones making the decision.)
This selection process also made it possible for Liu and pairs skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier to successfully petition for their places on the team, despite dropping out of nationals due to positive COVID-19 tests. All of the skaters will be eligible to compete in their individual competitions as well as the team competition in Beijing.
So, with all the controversy behind us (. . . right? Right?!), keep reading to learn more about the world-class figure skaters repping the US in Beijing next month.