Ice dancers Hawayek and Baker withdraw from nationals

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Olympic ice dancers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean Luc Baker withdrew Tuesday from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships because of a series of injuries over the past 18 months that they said led to challenges with their mental health.

Hawayak and Baker, who were 11th at last year’s Beijing Games, earned silver medals at both of their Grand Prix events this season before finishing fifth at the Grand Prix Final in December.

They had finished third at each of the past four U.S. championships, which begin next week in San Jose, California.

Hawayak and Baker said in a statement that it was in their best interest to prioritize their mental and physical health rather than competing at nationals. But they intend to petition for a spot on the 2023 world championships team.

Their withdrawal, coupled with the retirement of fellow Olympic ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, make Madison Chock and Evan Bates the overwhelming favorites to defend their national championship.

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