Athlete Profile: Mariah Bell
By Colette Harris
American figure skater, Mariah Bell, recently captured the silver medal at 2016 Progressive Skate America, the first competition in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Now, she's busy training hard and gearing up for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January 2017 in Kansas City, MO. The top finishers in the senior ladies event, in which Bell will compete, will represent the United States at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland in March 2017.
GOLD caught up with Bell after her Skate America free skate at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Il in October. She filled us in on what it's been like to move away from her childhood home to train, how she stays calm at competitions, and her biggest skating goals.
GOLD: You recently moved from your hometown in Colorado to California to train under coach, Rafael Arutyunyan. What has moving away from home been like?
Bell: Moving away from my parents was a big thing. I feel like I’ve matured in my skating and in my personal life from being more on my own. I love training in Lakewood and training with Rafael is awesome. I’m living in a great area. I’m close to the beach. I don’t get to go to the beach very often, except on the weekends, but I absolutely love it.
GOLD: What is a typical training day like for you?
Bell: Usually, I have one skating session around 9 o’clock. It’s an hour long and I spend that session getting my body warm. I do my program without jumps, just really focusing on the choreography. Sometimes, I jump at the end of the session; just the jumps that I’m more comfortable and know I can nail earlier in the morning. Then I have a two hour break where I stretch, eat, and sometimes, if I have time, I go home because I live pretty close to the rink. I get back on the ice around 11:40 a.m. and skate anywhere from one-and-a-half to two hours. That’s when I train my programs and train sections of my programs. At the end of the day, I work on my spins and choreography.
GOLD: Competing at a senior Grand Prix event can be nerve-racking. How do you manage your nerves before a competition?
Bell: That’s something I’ve really worked on over the last few years. For me, the best thing is to take it one thing at a time. If I start my program and I’m thinking of all the elements at once, it can be very overwhelming. That’s when I get too nervous. Some nerves are good and they’re normal, but just focusing on taking it one element at a time is good for me.
GOLD: What goals do you have for your skating career?
Bell: I would love to make a world team. I would love to make an Olympic team. Honestly, to just get a Grand Prix medal was a goal that I had, but wasn’t something I was expecting at (Skate America). To have it now is really, really awesome.
GOLD: What life lessons has skating taught you?
Bell: Being true to yourself has been really big for me. When I was going to high school and training, I learned a lot about time management and being able to balance a schedule.
GOLD: How do you keep skating in perspective?
Bell: At the end of the day, this is just one portion of my life. I’m not going to be a skater and competitor someday, but this is my passion. This is what I love to do, so [it's about] following your heart and chasing your dreams.
Fast Facts & Favs
Birthday: April 18, 1996
Hometown: Monument, Colorado
Training location: Lakewood, California
Favorite food: egg and cheese sandwiches
Favorite Travel Spot: Italy
If you weren't a skater you'd be..... a gymnast or sprinter
Header photo: Courtesy of US Figure Skating