Liu pulls out of US figure skate final after Covid positive

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US teen star Alysa Liu, third after the women's short program, withdrew from the US Figure Skating Championships on Friday after testing positive for Covid-19 (AFP/MATTHEW STOCKMAN)
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US teen star Alysa Liu, a two-time American champion, withdrew from the US Figure Skating Championships after testing positive for Covid-19, US Figure Skating announced Friday.

The 16-year-old Liu's withdrawal comes after pairs duo Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were forced to withdraw on Wednesday after Frazier tested positive.

Liu, whose father emigrated from China in the 1990s, became the youngest US women's champion ever at age 13 in 2019 and defended her crown the following year.

Liu, the first American woman to land a quadruple jump in competition by performing a quad Lutz, ranked third in the women's competition after Thursday's short program behind Mariah Bell and Karen Chen.

But her dream of a third US crown in four years was undone by Covid-19.

"I have withdrawn from the free program due to a positive covid test this morning," Liu said in a statement on Instagram.

"I'm fully vaccinated, have been wearing an N95 mask, and got two negative results before leaving to Nashville. Things happen unfortunately but it is what it is.

"I'm thankful to US Figure Skating for taking the extra precaution and having the necessary testing facilities to help keep everyone here as safe as possible."

The free skate final was set for Friday night with the three US women selected to compete at Beijing set to be confirmed on Saturday.

"I'm feeling good physically and mentally and I'm wishing all the girls good luck," Liu said. "Thank you for the support."

Despite not finishing in the nationals, Liu is able to petition the US Olympic selection committee to be granted a spot of the American squad that will compete next month in China.

She would have to demonstrate the ability to perform a full routine and receive medical clearance if selected to be able to skate for Olympic gold.

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