GANGNEUNG, South Korea – U.S. Figure Skating’s snub of Mirai Nagasu for a spot on the 2014 Sochi Olympic team, despite a third-place finish at that year’s national championships that should have clinched it, would have crushed many competitors. There was no formal explanation and little logic, in the view of many of the sport’s enthusiasts.
Rather than quit, Nagasu, then 20, doubled down on her commitment to the sport. She moved away from her beloved parents in California, relocated to the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and, with a new coach, poured herself into mastering the tricky triple axel – a jump that only two American women had successfully landed in competition.
Monday at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, Nagasu got her redemption in triumphant fashion, making U.S. figure skating history by becoming the first American woman to land a triple axel in the Olympics.
“It’s historical and something no one can take away from me,” Nagasu said. “I wanted to make America proud.”
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Nagasu, 24, landed the jump at the Gangneung Ice Arena under enormous pressure, the first of five women to perform her free skate on the final day of competition toward the Olympics team medal. With the U.S. squad sitting in third, hopelessly out of gold medal contention yet under threat of losing its provisional bronze to Italy, Nagasu took the ice and held nothing back in the 4 1/2-minute program she had scripted to music from “Miss Saigon.”
The triple axel came first, and she delivered, completing all of the tricky rotations and landing solidly on one foot. Her coach pumped his fists and leapt in excitement. From there, it was as if an anvil was lifted from Nagasu’s shulders, and she didn’t miss a jump or put a skate wrong. As her program wound down, she was beaming, completing her final triple loop and finishing with a layback spin of sheer beauty and release.
Nagasu shook her fists twice as her teammates gave her a standing ovation, aware of her sacrifice and courage. Judges scored her a 137.53, more than seven points higher than her season’s best.
“HOLY COW!” You just witnessed a historic triple axel from Mirai Nagasu. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/NsNuy9F46h pic.twitter.com/jCMTb4LtXv
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 12, 2018
The high-risk triple axel, which actually …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News