United States figure skater Mirai Nagasu made history on Monday after becoming the first American woman in history to land the incredibly difficult triple Axel jump at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and only the third overall.
The 24-year-old’s run helped the US to claim the bronze medal in the team event, as after starting with the incredibly difficult jump, she then completed eight other triple jumps including a triple flip and a triple Slachow combination.
Four years ago, Nagasu was heartbroken after being left off the US team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics in favour of a woman who ranked lower than she had at a key qualifying event.
But on Monday, the woman whose Japanese immigrant parents run a sushi restaurant and mother hand-sewed her costumes, made skating history.
Clearly overjoyed, the 24-year-old Nagasu, who was skating at her second Olympics, pumped her fists and grinned as she skated off the ice.
“I feel really great,” she said after her performance. “Going into it, I was like a train, get on those tracks and get some speed. To nail it the way I did – and even out of the corner of my eye, I could see my team mates standing in excitement.”
The only other women to land the jump in the Olympics were Japanese skaters Midori Ito and Mao Asada, and Nagasu joked that perhaps her ancestry had played a part.
“Maybe it’s the Japanese genetics – but lucky for me I’m American, so I’ll be the first US lady,” she said after her performance.
She was snubbed for Sochi in 2014 despite finishing third in the US nationals as the selectors handed the Olympic berth to Ashley Wagner, who finished fourth.