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Mariah Bell focused on the big picture ahead of NHK Trophy

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Mariah Bell brushed off not making the Olympic team. Her eyes are on January’s nationals, where she wants to be U.S. champion, and on the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

“Looking forward another four years, it’s my goal to be on that Olympic team,” she told NBC Olympic Research at the start of her season. “This year, not making the team, it’s not a huge deal. It’s just taking all this experience to help me get there four years from now.”

She’s viewing this season as a “fresh start” because it’s just the beginning of the new quadrennial. She had a strong showing and finished fourth at September’s Nebelhorn and was fourth at Skate Canada.

She skates next at NHK Trophy in Japan this weekend. NBC Sports Gold will live stream every men’s, ladies, pairs’ and dance programs.

After her tour of the Grand Prix circuit, her focus is nationals.

“My top goal is to be national champion. As I lead up to nationals I think I can do really well at both of my Grand Prixes. It’s just a matter of staying in the moment.”

After a surprise trip to the world championships – where she finished 12th – Bell spent the summer working on her triple-triple combinations, which she said helped build her consistency. She also spent two weeks doing shows in Japan, where she was able to perform her new short program in front of audiences.

Her short program this season is set to “To Love You More” by Celine Dion and it was choreographed by her longtime training partner Adam Rippon.

“I trained with Adam for the last two or three years,” Bell said. “He’s always been there to give me advice on little things or help me with some technical stuff. But I’ve never actually worked with him for a program so that was so exciting. I’m honestly so lucky that he had the time because he’s so famous now!”

Her free skate lands on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, portraying a loss in life and learning to live without what was lost.

“It’s very deep,” she said. “I’ve never had a program that’s that raw.”

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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MORE: Assessing figure skating’s Grand Prix season at the midpoint

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Adam Rippon donates Olympic costume to Smithsonian

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Adam Rippon announced on Twitter on Monday that the skating costume he wore at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics will be donated to the Smithsonian museum.

The costume, consisting of a bejeweled shirt, pants, and even his skates, will be on display “soon” at the National Museum of American History, according to Rippon’s post.

The blades of his boots are engraved with his name. Rippon actually wore three costumes in PyeongChang: his short program costume, plus his individual and team event free skate costumes. They were similar, but it’s the individual free skate costume going to the museum. He won bronze with Team USA wearing the team event costume. In the individual event, Rippon finished 10th.

Adam Rippon’s next career move: judging

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Adam Rippon won’t be in figure skating competition this fall. He will be a judge instead.

Rippon will be one of three judges for “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,” premiering Oct. 7, along with “La La Land” choreographer Mandy Moore and “Dancing with the Stars” veteran pro Val Chmerkovskiy.

Rippon won the recently completed all-athlete mini season of the series, beating fellow figure skater Tonya Harding to become the sixth Olympian to lift the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Rippon, who at 28 was the oldest U.S. Olympic singles skating rookie in 82 years, said last month he’s unlikely to compete in figure skating again. He finished 10th in PyeongChang and earned a bronze medal in the team event.

“I used to be embarrassed [to dance],” as a child, Rippon said on “Good Morning America” on Monday. But not anymore.

“You know why?” he said. “I was thrown to the fire [last season on “Dancing”], lived with the wolves, and that’s what I’m going to do with these kids.”

MORE: Mirai Nagasu to skip Grand Prix, will not skate at 2022 Olympics

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