At the Start of Her Routine She Did Something Historic

Mirai Nagasu is third woman to even land a triple axel at the Olympics
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2018 4:33 AM CST
Mirai Nagasu of the United States celebrates after her performance in the ladies single skating free skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb....   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(Newser) – The elitist of clubs welcomed a third member on Monday: American figure skater Mirai Nagasu became the third woman to even land a triple axel at the Olympics. You can watch the jump here. It came as part of an effort that saw the US women secure a team bronze, and it places her alongside Midori Ito, who landed the jump in 1992, and Mao Asada, who managed the feat in 2010 and 2014; both were skating for Japan. It's not the first time Nagasu has skated for America, but the 24-year-old's past attempts haven't been so headline-grabbing. She ended up fourth in Vancouver in 2010 and missed out on Sochi in 2014. The Washington Post reports her dream of landing the jump was what brought her back to the ice after that Sochi "snub."

ESPN echos that series of events, and reports it took Nagasu two years to master the jump, which she attempts about 30 times a day in training. Writing for USA Today, Christine Brennan sees the jump as making her a contender for an individual medal (that competition starts Feb. 21), though she notes bets are on Russian skaters Alina Zagitova ("the sport’s new 15-year-old 'it' girl") and Evgenia Medvedeva taking gold and silver. Slate reports that Ito and Asada both ended up with silver after their own triple axels. As for the team competition, Canada took gold and Olympic Athletes from Russia took silver. The Post notes only one other American woman has landed a triple axel in competition: Tonya Harding did so at the 1991 world championships. Brian Orser was the first to ever land a triple axel at the games, in Sarajevo in 1984.

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