Mirai Nagasu Becomes First US Woman To Land Triple Axel At Olympics

Kristen Gonzales
February 18, 2018

They understood the math.

We won in team figure skating.

"It was terrible", Nagasu told USA Today about missing the roster. Eight years ago, when Nagasu competed at the Vancouver Games, the team event didn't exist.

The spunky, charming 24-year-old, whose historic, awe-inspiring free skate helped the US secure bronze in Sunday's team event, would be a ideal fit for "Dancing", which is eschewing a regular season for an abbreviated all-athletes installment premiering on April 30.

"This year I was able to really get a feel for it and so when I started to land it, it was a very satisfactory feeling", she said in December.

Two other figure skaters have landed the triple axel in the Olympics - Midori Ito and Mao Asada, both of Japan have done so. Whereas a single axel is just one-and-a-half rotations, a triple axel is three-and-a-half. "I think I have always been someone that has had to compartmentalize my life because I was in the closet and I'm always at fear of outing myself", Kenworthy noted. It doesn't happen immediately.

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Whilst Nagasu is born to Japanese parents, she chose to relinquish her Japanese-American dual citizenship once she turned 22.

Rippon did not try any quadruple jumps while Kolyada and Chan did. But guess what? If you're a Colorado Avalanche fan, you probably knew the name Mirai Nagasu way before America knew it. It's a lesson in focus and betting on the longevity of your career, even when the current situation looks hopeless.

Four years ago Nagasu, a U.S. champion in 2008 and the fourth-place finisher at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, came in third at nationals but was passed over for Ashley Wagner by the selection committee, who handpick the team based on a number of fuzzy criteria including season-long body of work and track record in worldwide competition.

"For many it is the first Olympic Games and it is a valuable experience to work as a team", said Medvedeva, also an Olympic medal favorite in the individual event. "So much fun", Rippon said to NBC's Andrea Joyce. Once he realized that he did, he focused on competing for the Olympics on his own terms, coming out as gay in 2015 and focusing on his comeback. Bobrova and Soloviev won gold in the team event for Russian Federation four years ago in Sochi.

Nagasu famously ate In-N-Out burgers on the roof of her house with fellow USA figure skater Adam Rippon, who was also passed over for the Games that year.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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