Mariah Bell proves there is no time limit when you have determination, a ferocious work ethic and talent.
At the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Nashville, Bell skated a spectacular short program and a mesmerizing free skate to k.d. lang's rendition of "Hallelujah.” At 25, she became the oldest skater in 95 years to capture the women’s national title. With that, Bell also secured a long-awaited spot on the U.S. Olympic team headed to Beijing.
“Age is literally a number,” Bell told NBC Sports. “If you have a dream, there is no limit on the time you have to achieve that dream.”
Over the past five years, Bell has been one of the most consistent and thrilling U.S. women skaters, earning standing ovations and a loyal fanbase. The crowd went wild for Bell’s lyrical interpretation of “Hallelujah” at the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The audience gave her a standing ovation and Bell shed tears of joy. Returning to this program for the Olympic year was a natural decision. Making it all the more meaningful is lang’s hypnotic rendition of the song at the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
“When I watched her sing at the Olympics, her voice was so unique and the way she performed was genuine to her,” said Bell.
Bell is coached by the legendary Rafael Arutunian and 2018 Olympic Bronze Medalist Adam Rippon. Both of the programs she performed in Olympic competition were choreographed by Canadian ice dancer Shae-Lynn Bourne.
“I am super lucky to work with Adam," Mariah said. "I trained with him for a couple years and he always was such a leader in the rink. For him to come in and assist me with my training, he’s been so helpful. He gives me really great perspective, staying mature and professional, and he’s the best at that.
“Shae-Lynn is so creative and she is really great at listening to the skater and what they want for the program,” she added. “She’s also great at keeping it very unique to the skater and having me think about a personal experience that helped develop the program. The programs were personal to me, so I felt connected to them.”
Bell first laced up skates when she was three years old, following in the footsteps of older sister Morgan. Both girls fell in the love with the sport and competed nationally. Morgan went on to skate with “Disney on Ice.”
Following the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and World Figure Skating Championships, Bell hit the road with Stars on Ice, her first time doing a full tour. She described it as an amazing experience made even more special by the enthusiastic audiences. While it involves a lot of work, it’s also a wonderful time to reflect on the Olympic season and enjoy.
“The crowds are so into it,” Bell said. “It’s not a competition, so it feels pretty light-hearted, and because of that you perform even more. It’s a unique experience.”
Off the ice, Bell enjoys Pilates, spending time with family and friends, playing with her two rabbits and her dog, Nala (named for a lioness in The Lion King), and watching episodes of the iconic TV show The Office. She likes to ride her bike along the beaches of Orange County where she currently trains and resides. Bell gives back to the community as a Celebrity Champion with the Alzheimer’s Association. Being genuine is always important.
“I try to be the same on the ice and off the ice,” she said. “I have great family and a great support system. I just love skating and I’m happy that I get to do it.”