How Mirai Nagasu Nailed the Triple Axel and Got Her Groove Back

How Mirai Nagasu Nailed the Triple Axel and Got Her Groove Back

She became the first American woman to successfully land a triple axel at the Olympics during the free program, receiving the second-highest score in the event and helping the US win a team bronze.

When confronted with the notion that many other skaters who did go on to medal, including Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond and Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova, also competed in the team event, Nagasu gave a meandering answer in which she blamed, among other things, traffic and the lack of hot water in the Olympic Village. Nagasu scored 119.61 points in her free skate February 22, her event in the Olympic team event, but only completed half a revolution on her attempted triple axel early in the skate and a scheduled triple lutz-triple toe combination ended as a single lutz.

'I saved the team event with Adam and the Shibutanis. "You are too old.' But here I am doing it". She is so desperate to finally crack the top three for Team USA.

Skier Mikaela Shiffrin is thinking of her American teammates even if she's not racing with them in the downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Nagasu failed to land the jump in the short program and failed to land it again Friday, popping it. "There are moments where it'll hit me and I'll be like, 'Wow, three months ago I was nobody and now I'm USA champion, '" she said after winning the national title.

Tennell, whose strength is her jumps, recovered to skate cleanly the rest of the way.

"I can't speak for everybody, but for me, I'm sticking around and I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can to bring us up in the ranking", Tennell said.

Nagasu, understandably, seemed more focused on her long program.

Should the competition play out that way, it isn't likely to help the sport's withering popularity in the U.S. American skating icons such as Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano and Dick Button blame the downturn on a lack of rivalries, a dearth of recognizable personalities, an inscrutable judging system and an overemphasis on jumps.

Nagasu, fourth in Vancouver, fell on her triple axel and earned a score of 66.93 for ninth place.

The American's 2 minutes-45 second routine went wrong before she had finished the opening element.

Also Wednesday, the women's figure-skating competition starts with the short program. "I could tell that something was just a little off", she said of the fall. "I wish I could land it perfectly every time".

With so much change, said Boitano, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist, people do not develop a strong rooting interest, and the rivalries that generate buzz fail to materialize.

Nagasu didn't say for sure that this was her last Olympic push. And that was before her freaky remarks afterward in the mixed zone which included thinly veiled shots at U.S. team-mate Nathan Chen and the revelations her focus during the free skate was "auditioning for Dancing With the Stars". But then we had to keep training and training and training, and we're just exhausted. And so I like to think of myself as one of the best, but I just made a little, tiny error today.

She wrote her grandfather's initials, "D.K." and a heart on her helmet during competition.

But after landing her opening triple lutz, Tennell was unable to hold onto her triple toe loop, falling on the second half of a combination that had become so familiar. I'm definitely a fighter. Medvedeva, the two-time defending world champion, injured her right foot in November and missed the Grand Prix Final. Make no mistake: the USA women's figure skating team, once the toast of the world and the sport's gold standard, is now an outsider.

At a news conference after the competition, the top two medalists - both teenagers representing Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation - said the indomitable Kostner had been an inspiration.

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