Where I Go: At the Ice Rink, My Feet End in Knives

An Adult Figure Skater Pivots Past Gendered, Classist, Racist Norms

When 25-year-old Mariah Bell competed in Beijing yesterday, she made history as the oldest U.S. women’s national champion in 95 years to step foot on Olympic ice. But “advanced age” aside, don’t call Bell an adult skater.

With triple/triple jump combinations at her disposal, Bell—like the rest of the elite women’s field she’s going up against—is considered a women’s singles skater. (Remarkably enough, the International Skating Union dropped “ladies” from the moniker only last June.) In figure skating, “adult” designates something different: a huge community of athletes, 21 and older, who …