Mariah Bell Announces Retirement From Figure Skating

US national figure skating champion Mariah Bell has announced that she is retiring from the competitive sport.

Bell shared the news with fans in an emotional Instagram post on Oct. 12.

The 26-year-old uploaded a slideshow that included photos of her celebrating her successes throughout her career alongside friends, family and other figure skating Olympians like Adam Rippon and Nathan Chen.

“My heart is so full, I am so grateful for the highs and lows, struggles and success,” she began in the caption. “This journey was hard and I didn’t always like it but I did always love it. All of these experiences made me the person I am, a person ready to hang up my competitive skating and take on the next part of my life with knowledge I could only gain through gliding across a cold sheet of ice everyday.”

She said becoming a competitive figure skater turned her dreams into a reality.

Bell then explained how being an athlete helped her gain perseverance and determination.

“I’ve always strived to be true to myself and not make excuses when things didn’t go my way and be thankful when they did,” she said. “I hope others may find inspiration in my career.”

She continued, “All good things must come to an end and I am so lucky I am ending with my love of skating at an all time high. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supported me, you made my journey so much sweeter.”

Bell promised her fans she won’t be too far away from the ice rink.

“See you on the ice again but now just for the fun of shows,” she concluded before ending her statement with a heart emoji.

In February, Bell and fellow Team USA figure skater Jason Brown spoke to TODAY about walking in the opening ceremony and competing in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 — their first Olympic games.

At 25, Bell was the oldest woman to make the women’s Olympic figure skating team in nearly 100 years.

Speaking about the opening ceremony, Bell said the experience was “absolutely so surreal.” She explained, “It’s a moment that I’m going to remember forever. I was just screaming and jumping up and down. It was so awesome.”

When asked about skating at the highest level, Bell shared, “There’s like a certain smell and feel to competition ice and so when you get here it’s so exciting to feel it. It’s just like everything is coming to that peak moment.”

Bell also won a national title this year, making her the oldest women’s national champion. She placed 10th at the Beijing Winter Olympics and fourth at the world championships.

Her departure from competitive figure skating makes her the second athlete from the three-women US Olympic team to retire this year. In April, 17-year-old Alysa Liu — the youngest US women’s national champion — told fans that she was ready to “move on” from the sport.

“I’m here to announce that I am retiring from skating,” she wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. “I started skating when I was 5 so that’s about 11 years on the ice and it’s been an insane 11 years.”

Liu added, “I honestly never thought I would have accomplished as much as I did. I’m so happy. I feel so satisfied with how my skating career has gone.”