Mariah Bell competes at the Internationaux de France on Nov. 2, 2019 in Grenoble, France.
On Saturday, Mariah Bell was better than almost everyone on the ice, including the reigning Olympic and world champion.
The 23-year-old from Monument, Colorado, came into the free skate on day two of the Internationaux de France in third place after the short program. She ended up getting the bronze medal for her second Grand Prix series medal, and her free skate was second only to Russian 16-year-old Alena Kostornaia, who upstaged teammate Alina Zagitova by winning the gold medal. Zagitova finished with the silver.
It was a close competition between the American and the two teenage Russian sensations.
Bell was in third place after the short program, trailing Kostornaia and Zagitova but not by much. Kostornaia scored a 76.55, Zagitova a 74.24 and Bell a 70.25 for her performance to “Radar” and “Work” by Britney Spears.
Her free skate took on a much different tone, performing to “Hallelujah” by KD Lang, and on Saturday it was enough to put her second only behind Kostornaia, who scored a 159.45 for a total of 236.00 to win the whole thing in her senior Grand Prix debut. Bell’s personal best score of 142.64 placed her higher in the free skate than Zagitova, who won Olympic gold in 2018 and the world title last season, for a personal best total of 212.89 points. Zagitova scored 141.82 in the free skate and finished with a total score of 216.06.
American Starr Andrews, 18, finished in fifth place with 180.54 points.