NASHVILLE — Jean-Luc Baker’s bid to fulfill his childhood dream of making it to the Olympics goes down this weekend.
The 28-year-old Edmonds native, who graduated from Kamiak High School, and his partner Kaitlin Hawayek hope to convince U.S. Figure Skating they deserve a spot on the Olympic ice dancing team when they compete at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday and Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.
Hawayek and Baker served as alternates for the U.S. team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. With one of the three pairs who made that team, Maia and Alex Shibutani, not competing this time around, Hawayek and Baker were favored to take the third spot along with the duos of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates.
However, Hawayek suffered a concussion in training during the summer, which forced the pair to withdraw from its early season competitions. Therefore, Hawayek and Baker head into nationals without a full season of competition under their belts.
While results at nationals do not determine who is selected for the Olympic team, it’s likely Hawayek and Baker need to finish in the top three to be selected by U.S. Figure Skating. Hawayek and Baker were bronze medalists at each of the past three U.S. Championships.
The rhythm dance is scheduled for 11 a.m. (Pacific Time) Friday and the free dance is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. Saturday. Both will be broadcast on USA and Peacock. U.S. Figure Skating will announce its three ice dancing teams for the Olympics, which take place Feb. 4-20 in Beijing, Sunday morning.