HeadlineOlympic Winter Games

Meet the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team

By Gina Capellazzi and Maura Sullivan Hill
Photos by U.S. Figure Skating and Robin Ritoss

Sixteen athletes were named to the 2022 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team. While hardcore figure skating fans are familiar with these athletes, fans who only tune into the sport during the Olympics may not be. So here’s a breakdown of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team and their reactions to making the team.

Women

Mariah Bell
Age:
25
Hometown: Westminster, Colorado
Coaches:
Rafael Arutunian, Adam Rippon
Training Location: Lakewood, California
Official website: mariahbell.figureskatersonline.com

U.S. Champion (2022)
U.S. silver medalist (2020)
Two-time U.S. bronze medalist (2017 and 2019)
Skate America champion (2020)

This is Bell’s first Olympics. At the age of 25, she is the oldest American to compete in women’s singles skating at the Olympics since 1928. In winning her title this year, Bell became the oldest U.S. women’s national champion in 95 years.

“This is pretty incredible. I’m so excited,” Bell said. “It is really honestly a dream come true to finally say I’m an Olympian and I’m on the Olympic team. It was not the easiest four years, but I’m really excited how everything has gone. I have sacrificed a lot to be at this point and I’m just really honored and grateful and I can’t wait to be in Beijing.”

One of Bell’s coaches, Adam Rippon, competed at the 2018 Olympics where he earned a bronze medal with the rest of Team USA in the team event. Bell’s older sister, Morgan Bell, is also a skater and has toured with Disney on Ice.

Karen Chen
Age: 22
Hometown: Fremont, California
Coach: Tammy Gambill
Training Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Official website: karenchen.figureskatersonline.com

U.S. Champion (2017)
U.S. silver medalist (2022)
Three-time U.S. bronze medalist (2015, 2018 and 2021)
Finished fourth at two World Championships (2017 and 2021)

This is Chen’s second Olympic Games. She competed at the 2018 Olympics, where she placed 11th in the women’s individual event. Chen’s fourth place finishes at the World Championships both in 2017 and 2021 were key in helping Team USA obtain three spots for the women’s event for both for the 2018 and 2022 Olympics.

“I’m super super excited to be headed back to my second Olympics,” Chen said. “After the first Olympics, I know that I didn’t have the skates that I wanted. I remember going through media and I said that wanted to come back and I wanted to have my redemption story. It has been a hard four years. I definitely made a lot of sacrifices. There were a lot of hard decisions that were made, but I think all those decisions turned out to be right ones and I’m really happy that I’ll be going to Beijing and I hope that we are all able to stay very, very healthy.”

Chen’s brother, Jeffrey Chen, is the 2021 U.S. Junior Champion in ice dance with his partner Katarina Wolfkostin. They finished sixth in their senior level at Nationals this year and will be competing at the 2022 World Junior Championships in March. Chen is currently on leave from Cornell University’s School of Human Ecology.

Alysa Liu
Age:
16
Hometown: Richmond, Calif.
Coaches: Christine Haigler, Drew Meekins, Viktor Pfeifer
Training Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Official website: alysaliu.figureskatersonline.com

Two-time U.S. Champion (2019 and 2020)
World junior bronze medalist (2020)
Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist (2019-20)

This is Liu’s first Olympics. She is the youngest member of the 2022 U.S. Olympic figure skating team. Liu petitioned for a spot on the team after a positive COVID-19 test left her unable to finish the women’s event at the 2022 U.S. Championships. Liu won Nebelhorn Trophy in Sept. 2021 to solidify the three spots for the U.S. women for the 2022 Olympics.

“I’m really excited,” Liu said. “I have basically been training forever for this moment. I’m really happy with the decisions that I have made because apparently they were all good ones because I’m here right now and I’m really excited to be going with Mariah and Karen.”

Liu is the youngest-ever U.S. women’s national champion, having won her first title at age 13, and is also the youngest to win two senior national titles (age 14). Liu is the ninth and youngest woman to land a triple Axel in international competition. She is also the first U.S. woman to successfully complete a quadruple jump in a competition, and the first U.S. woman to land a quadruple jump and triple axel in the same program.

 

Men

Jason Brown
Age:
27
Hometown:
Highland Park, Ill.
Coaches:
Tracy Wilson, Brian Orser, Karen Preston
Training Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Official website: jasonbrown.figureskatersonline.com

Olympic Team Event bronze medalist (2014)
Two-time Four Continents medalist (silver – 2020, bronze – 2018)
U.S. Champion (2015)
Two-time U.S. silver medalist (2014 and 2020)
Three-time U.S. bronze medalist (2017, 2019 and 2021)
U.S. pewter medalist (2022)

This is Brown’s second Olympic games. In 2014, he was a member of the U.S. team that won the bronze medal in the team event. In the men’s individual event, he finished in 9th place. In 2018, he failed to make the Olympic team.

“It’s been an emotional day,” Brown said. “It is pretty incredible to be up here with Nathan and Vincent, once again, at another event. It’s just been incredible, the last four years getting to travel the world with them. So I look forward to adding Beijing to the list of countries that we’re all at together.”

Brown came out as gay via Instagram post on June 11, 2021. He has been involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities since 2014.

Nathan Chen
Age:
22
Hometown:
Salt Lake City, Utah
Coaches:
Rafael Arutunian, Nadia Kanaeva and Vera Arutyunyan
Training Location: Irvine, Calif.
Official website: nathanchen.figureskatersonline.com

Three-time World Champion (2018, 2019 and 2021)
Olympic Team Event bronze medalist (2018)
Four Continents Champion (2017)
Three-time Grand Prix Final Champion (2017, 2018 and 2019)
Six-time U.S. Champion (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022)

This is Chen’s second Olympic games. In 2018, he was a member of the U.S. team that won the bronze medal in the team event. In the men’s individual event, he was a favorite for Olympic gold, but struggled in the short program, finishing in 17th place. In the free skate, he made Olympic history by becoming the first man to attempt six quadruple jumps. He placed first in the free skate with a score of 215.08, the highest in Olympic history, earning a total score of 297.35 to finish in fifth place overall.

“It is just an honor to be a part of this amazing team and we have a lot of talent in the U.S., so I’m really excited to be going to the Olympic Games with these two guys (Vincent and Jason),” Chen said.

Chen is the first skater to have landed five types of quadruple jumps in competition – quadruple toe loop, quadruple loop, quadruple salchow, quadruple flip and quadruple lutz  – as well as the first to land eight quadruple jumps total at the 2018 World Championships.

Chen’s mom is from Beijing and he says he still has family in China.

Vincent Zhou
Age:
21
Hometown:
Palo Alto, Calif.
Coaches: Drew Meekins, Christy Krall, Tom Zakrajsek, Mie Hamada
Training Location:
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Official website: https://govincentzhou.com/

World bronze medalist (2019)
Four Continents bronze medalist (2019)
Skate America champion (2021)
Three-time U.S. silver medalist (2017, 2019, 2021)
Two-time U.S. bronze medalist (2018 and 2022)

This is Zhou’s second trip to the Olympics. In 2018, Zhou finished just behind Chen, in sixth-place in the men’s event. At the 2018 Olympics, Zhou became the first person to successfully land a quadruple Lutz jump at the Olympics. 

“I think Team USA has all its bases covered with us three (Chen, Brown and me),” Zhou said. “I’m very honored to be on this team. Thank you (U.S. Figure Skating) for the opportunity. It’s going to be an amazing run.”

Zhou’s mom, dad and entire extended family are all from Beijing. He entered Brown University in Providence, Rhode, Island with the Class of 2023, but has been on leave since 2020.

Pairs

Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy LeDuc
Ages: 26/31
Hometowns: Coppell, Texas | Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Coaches: Peter and Darlene Cain
Training Location: Euless, Texas
Official website: cain-leduc.figureskatersonline.com

Four Continents silver medalists (2018)
Two-time U.S. Champions (2019 and 2022)
Two-time U.S. bronze medalists (2017 and 2021)
Two-time U.S. pewter medalists (2018 and 2020)

This is the team’s first Olympics. They began partnership in May 2016. Prior to the duo skating together, LeDuc had left competitive skating and was performing on cruise ships and Cain-Gribble was competing in singles. LeDuc, who uses they/them pronouns, became the first openly gay athlete to win a gold medal in a U.S. pairs’ event in 2019. They will make history as the first openly nonbinary athlete to compete in any event at a Winter Olympics.

“We are so excited and grateful. This is a career-long goal accomplished and now our focus turns to what we want to accomplish at the Olympics. We are ready to go, we have worked really hard all season, building ourselves up and we feel like we have more room to grow, to show our best programs at the Olympics,” said LeDuc.

“We feel like we are living our dream right now, but we also feel like the best versions of ourselves,” added Cain-Gribble. “We are just so excited and grateful for this opportunity.”

The team is coached by Ashley’s parents, Peter and Darlene Cain. Ashley married Dalton Gribble in June 2019.

 

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier
Ages: 30/29
Hometowns: Addison, Ill. | Colorado Springs, Colorado
Coaches: Todd Sand, Jenni Meno, Chris Knierim, Nina Mozer, Christine Binder, Rafael Arutunian
Training Location: Irvine, Calif.
Official website: knierim-frazier.figureskatersonline.com

U.S. champions (2021)
Internationaux de France bronze medalists (2021)
Skate America champion (2020)

This is the team’s first Olympics together, but the 2022 Olympics marks Knierim’s second trip to the Games. She competed in the 2018 Olympics with her husband Chris Knierim, where they won the bronze medal with the rest of Team USA in the team event. Knierim and Frazier, who previously competed with Haven Denney, teamed up in 2020 following Chris’ retirement. They won the 2021 U.S. Championships in their first season together. Unfortunately, they were unable to defend their title as Frazier tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the pairs’ event at the 2022 U.S. Championships. The team petitioned for a spot on the Olympic team.

“I’m just overwhelmed with joy for this opportunity,” said Frazier. “Obviously, it was still upsetting not to be able to compete this week (at the U.S. Championships), but overall, I’m moving past it for the bigger goal. I’m very excited for Alexa and I to continue building on what we built on to come here and do it at the Olympic Games.”

“I’m super honored and grateful to be named to the team with Brandon,” Knierim added. “I believe the best is yet to come. We were so ready and prepared to compete her this week. It was devastating for us, but obviously right now, we are on cloud nine so it has been a rollercoaster.”

Frazier competed as a roller skater from 1998 until 2004. Knierim has two cats named Scarlet and Muffy and two dogs named Cami and Diesel.

Ice Dance

Madison Chock/Evan Bates
Ages:
29/32
Hometowns: Novi, Mich. | Ann Arbor, Mich.
Coaches: Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer
Training Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Official website: http://www.chock-bates.com/

Two-time World medalists (silver – 2015 and bronze – 2016)
Three-time Grand Prix Final silver medalists (2014-15, 2015-16 and 2019-20)
Two-time Four Continents champions (2019 and 2020)
Three-time U.S. Champions (2015, 2020 and 2022)

This is the team’s third Olympics together. They finished 8th in 2014 and 9th in 2018. The 2022 Olympics marks Evan’s fourth Olympics. He competed at the 2010 Olympics with former partner Emily Samuelson. They finished in 11th place. Bates will now become the first U.S. skater of any discipline to compete in four Winter Olympics. He will also be the second-oldest American to compete in ice dance at the Olympics.

“We are so honored and thrilled to be a part of our third Olympic team together as a team and Evan’s fourth. It’s just another dream come true,” Chock said. “This is a huge goal that we’ve been working towards the last four years and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share this Olympic team with our fellow training mates and friends.”

Chock and Bates have also been an off-ice couple since 2017 and have two dogs, Henry and Stella.

Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker
Ages: 25/28
Hometowns: East Aurora, N.Y/Edmonds, Wash.
Coaches: Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer
Training location: Montreal, Quebec
Official website: https://www.hawayekandbaker.com/

Four Continents champions (2018)
Four-time consecutive U.S. bronze medalists (2019-2022)
U.S. pewter medalists (2015 and 2018)
World Junior champions (2014)

This is Hawayek and Baker’s first Olympics. The two teamed up in 2012. They are four-time U.S. bronze medalists, and won the ISU Four Continents title in 2018. In the summer, Hawayek suffered a concussion in training. Because of it, they were forced to withdraw from the 2021 U.S. Classic and their first Grand Prix assignment, the 2021 NHK Trophy. They started their season in November at Rostelecom Cup with a fifth-place finish, followed by winning the gold medal at the 2021 Golden Spin competition in December.

“This is our first Olympic selection, and it is a little bit surreal in a way,” Hawayek said. “It’s something that we’ve been working on and working towards for the last 10 years of our skating career and it has definitely not come without it ups and downs. So to be able to be selected to the Olympic team is an honor of a lifetime and we are really excited to go and compete in Beijing.”

Hawayek is studying psychology at Penn State University through their World Campus program. She enjoys painting, dancing, DJing, makeup artistry and psychology. Baker enjoys photography, bike riding and camping.

Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue
Ages: 30/31
Hometowns: Sylvania, Ohio | Madison, Conn.
Coaches: Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer
Training Location: Montreal, Quebec
Official website: http://www.hubbell-donohue.com/

Three-time World medalists (silver – 2018 and 2021 and bronze – 2019)
Grand Prix Final champion (2018-19)
Four Continents champion (2014)
Three-time U.S. Champions (2018, 2019 and 2021)

This is the team’s second Olympics. In 2018, they finished just off the podium in fourth place in the ice dance event and did not compete in the team event. Hubbell and Donohue have competed together since the 2011-12 season.  They have announced that the 2021-2022 season will be their final competitive season, ending with the World Championships in Montpellier, France.

 

“It is always an honor to represent your country, and on the world’s biggest stage,” Hubbell said. “We’re  very excited and looking forward to departure (to Beijing) in just a few short weeks.”

Hubbell is engaged to Spanish ice dancer Adrian Diaz. They are planning their wedding for June 2023. Donohue is dating Australian ice dancer Chantelle Kerry.