NASHVILLE — Edmonds native and Kamiak High School graduate Jean-Luc Baker is headed to Beijing.
Baker and his partner Kaitlin Hawayek were selected by U.S. Figure Skating as one of the three teams to represent the U.S. in ice dancing at the 2022 Winter Olympics, the organization announced Sunday.
Let's dance, #Beijing2022. pic.twitter.com/rx4mLFVju0
— U.S. Figure Skating (@USFigureSkating) January 9, 2022
Hawayek and Baker placed third at the U.S Figure Skating Championships on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. Hawayek and Baker went into Saturday’s free dance in fourth place following some hiccups in Friday’s rhythm dance, trailing Caroline Green and Michael Parsons by 1.46 points. However, they performed a flawless free dance, finishing with an overall score of 205.68 to hurdle Green and Parsons (203.27) and earn the bronze medal at nationals for the fourth straight year.
Hawayek and Baker had to wait overnight to find out if their performance was enough to earn an Olympic berth, since the U.S. team was determined not by results at nationals, but by U.S. Figure Skating. Hawayek and Baker have been considered the U.S.’s No. 3 pairing, behind the power duos of Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, ever since serving as first alternates for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. However, Hawayek suffered a concussion during training in the summer, forcing the pair to withdraw from several competitions early this season and opening the door for Green and Parsons to potentially snag the final spot.
Now Hawayek and Baker have achieved their dream of making it to the Olympics, one they’ve been aiming at for four years.
The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 4 and continue through Feb. 20.
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