Let the Games begin!
Team USA’s finest are in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and our world-class figure skating team is ready to go for the gold.
Here's a look at the athletes we'll be watching closely when they hit the ice.
Women's Figure Skating Team
While chatting with TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones earlier this month, Bell reflected on what it's like to become the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s singles figure skater since 1928.
“It’s absolutely just a number,” she said of her age. “If you have a dream and you’re dedicated to it, and you’re working toward it, there doesn’t have to be an expiration date. I feel like I’m not even in my prime. I’m working to get there and I’m really excited to be the first woman in so long to be going.”
And she absolutely plans to make the most of it.
“I wanted to be on the Olympic team so bad I almost didn’t want to think about it too much before I got here, because it would, like, make me cry,” she added.
Bell isn’t the only one making history. Karen Chen is set to make her mark as the first woman single skater to compete in back-to-back Olympics in 15 years. And given that she’s faced daunting injuries since the Pyeongchang Games of 2018, she wasn’t sure it would happen.
“I did think about stepping away from the sport,” she confessed. “But for some reason, like under all of that stress, I guess I had clarity, and I just realized how much I love skating.”
Liu might be the youngest member of the team, but NBC Sports figure skating analyst Tara Lipinski said she's expecting a lot from the skater.
“I think what’s going to be really exciting for Alysa is that she’s the only U.S. woman at the Olympic Games with a triple axel,” she said during a recent conversation with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, referring to what is considered the most difficult jump in figure skating. “When you look at the top women in the world, there may be a Russian sweep in the women’s event because they’re doing triple axels and quads, and Alysa has that triple axel. So it will be exciting to see how close she can get to those top women.”
Men's Figure Skating Team
There are three members of the men's team representing Team USA.: Jason Brown, 27, Nathan Chen, 22, and Vincent Zhou, 21.
While chatting with Sheinelle earlier this month, Brown said that waiting to find out if he’d made the Olympics team was a process that was full of anticipation.
“We were all glued to our phones waiting for (the announcement) to come through,” he said.
Making it to the Olympics is a long, arduous journey and Nathan Chen (no relation to Karen), said it’s his passion for the sport that fuels the entire figure skating team.
“All the figure skaters have been doing it since they’re kids,” he said. “It’s amazing to feel that all your work is like culminating to this one moment, you know, we’ve all worked really hard to be where we are.”
According to Lipinski, all of his hard work is likely to pay off in a big way.
“His chances are — he’s probably going to win this Olympic gold medal. ... He’s hands-down the favorite,” she recently told Hoda.
In a recent interview with NBC News, Zhou said his parents have been his biggest supporters in his Olympics journey, and he said they're the first people he thinks about when he wins a competition.
“Achieving a certain level of success gives a person some perspective on how things are,” Zhou said. “And when I am standing on a podium, hearing the national anthem being played and having a medal placed around my neck, my thoughts … always go back to the people who helped me along the way.”
The Winter Olympics began Feb. 3, and you can watch all the action on NBC and Peacock.