Alysa Liu withdraws from U.S. Figure Skating Championships due to COVID

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Skate Canada
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Two-time national champion Alysa Liu withdrew from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships after testing positive for the coronavirus before Friday night’s free skate and plans to petition for a spot on the Olympic team.

Liu, 16, shared on social media that she is feeling good, tested negative twice before arriving to compete in Nashville and is fully vaccinated.

Liu was third in Thursday’s short program and, as the highest-ranking U.S. woman in the world this season, was in strong position for one of three Olympic women’s spots.

The national championships are not an Olympic Trials. A selection committee decides after the competition on the Olympic team, taking into account results over the past year, starting with the January 2021 U.S. Championships.

The Olympic women’s team will be announced during NBC Sports’ coverage Saturday afternoon.

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Skaters can petition for a spot on the team if they do not complete the U.S. Championships. Reigning U.S. pairs’ champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier said they will petition for a spot, too, after withdrawing before nationals after Frazier’s positive COVID test.

Skaters who successfully petition must be able to prove the ability to perform full competition programs by a specified date and be medically approved to compete at the Olympics.

Liu was the top U.S. woman in the fall Grand Prix Series, ranking fifth in the world by best total score across all international competitions when excluding the extra Russians who won’t be at the Olympics.

In 2019, Liu became the youngest senior U.S. champion in history at age 13. She repeated as champion in 2020 and was fourth last year after dealing with injuries, a growth sport and a coaching change.

She changed coaches again this past fall during her first senior international season.

The last skater to successfully petition for an Olympic spot was Michelle Kwan, who missed the 2006 U.S. Championships due to a groin injury. Kwan ultimately withdrew from the Olympics due to injury, replaced by Emily Hughes.

NBC Sports researcher Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report from Nashville.

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