Alysa Liu, who was favored to win her third U.S. figure skating women’s title and earn a spot on the Beijing Olympic team, withdrew from the national championships in Nashville on Friday after she tested positive for COVID-19, U.S. Figure Skating announced.
Liu, an extraordinary jumper as a young teenager, became the youngest woman to win the U.S. women’s title when she prevailed in 2019 at age 13. She repeated as champion in 2020 but finished fourth in last year’s competition.
Liu, who lives in Richmond, Calif., and trains in Colorado Springs, became eligible to compete in the Olympics when she turned 16 last summer. She ranked third after the short program, the first phase of the women’s competition, with 71.42 points. Mariah Bell is the leader with 75.55 points, followed by Karen Chen at 74.55 points. The women’s event will conclude Friday night with the free skate.
Skaters who can’t compete at the U.S. championships for medical reasons can petition to be awarded Olympic berths provided they can later prove their fitness. The figure skating championships are not the same as the Olympic trials: A selection committee will consider skaters’ performances in national and international events over the past year in deciding who will compete in Beijing.
Michelle Kwan couldn’t compete at the 2006 national championships but successfully petitioned to be included on the team for the Turin Games. However, a hip injury later led her to withdraw, and she was replaced by Emily Hughes.
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