U.S. figure skater Mariah Bell, at 25 years old, officially has made her long-awaited Olympic debut.
Bell, the oldest U.S. women's singles skater at the Olympics since 1928, overcame a fall on the triple-triple during her opening combination to finish with a score of 65.38 in the women's short program on Tuesday. That placed her second at the time behind Anastasia Gubanova of Georgia (65.40).
The top 24 skaters in the field of 30 advance to the free skate at 5 a.m. ET on Thursday.
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Bell had a technical score of 33.43, component score of 32.95 and received a mandatory one-point deduction for the fall.
The Oklahoma native won the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in January for the first time in her ninth appearance, becoming the oldest woman in 95 years to win the U.S. title and punch her ticket to the Olympic Games.
In the stands watching Bell perform on Tuesday was her close friend Nathan Chen, the men's free skate gold-medal winner.
“Age is literally a number,” Bell said after being named to the Olympic team. “It means nothing. If you have a dream, there is no limit on the time you have to achieve that dream, for sure.”