U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu made history with her triple axel at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but every time she hits the ice, her routines are basically worthy of praise. For example, the whole video of Mirai Nagasu's 2018 Olympics performance reveals how wildly skilled the 24 year-old skater is, and these other videos of Nagasu skating in 2018 show how much work she's put into her sport. Clearly it paid off, as she became the first woman from the U.S. to land a triple axel at the Olympics during the team event on Sunday.
You've probably heard the skating terms over the years, like salchows and lutzes, but it's hard to really know what anyone's talking about. As you could guess, the axels are the most difficult jumps, and you usually see figure skaters do double axels at the Olympics — or failed attempts at triple axels. That is, until Nagasu, who nailed hers right at the top of her routine. It wasn't over after that, though. The routine went on for almost four minutes longer, with tons of impressive jumps that she landed perfectly.
According to the Washington Post, Nagasu's routine also included a triple salchow, a "double axel-triple toe loop-double toe loop," and a "triple lutz-triple toe loop," which, while impressive to watch, don't prove a huge challenge for Olympian figure skaters. Still, people can slip up on those jumps, and, after her final jump, you can see that Nagasu clenched her fists, grinning as if to cheer herself on for completing it all without errors. Finally, at the end you get to see her let loose in a full celebration of her all-around amazing performance.
The story behind Nagasu's journey to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Olympics makes the figure skater's history-making routine even more inspiring. Nagasu first competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where she finished in fourth place, but she didn't qualify for the following winter games in 2014.
As figure skater Adam Rippon revealed to NBC's Mike Tirico that during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, he and Nagasu comisserated over their disappointment for not qualifying for the winter games that year. Rippon revealed that the two figure skaters dealt with the disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympics that year in the most relatable way ever: by stuffing their faces. "We were eating In-N-Out because we were so upset we weren't at the Olympic games," Rippon told Tirico. Nagasu added her own version of the story, telling NBC, "Four years ago I was crying with Adam Rippon because we both didn't make the team."
The two even have matching tattoos, which Rippon revealed to Yahoo that he wanted to get after going through their disheartening rejection four years ago together.
Though Nagasu became the first woman from the U.S. to land a triple axel at the Olympics, she became the third woman overall to pull off the difficult feat. The other two women to do so were Midori Ito and Mao Asada, who both represented Japan at past Olympics. According to the Washington Post, Nagasu pointed out that all three figure skaters to land the difficult jump at the Olympics were of Japanese heritage. "But I am fortunate that I am American, so I’ll be the first U.S. lady... So today is a day of accomplishment for me," she said.
The Washington Post reported that she had her mind set on landing a triple axel at the 2018 Olympics. In an interview from this past Dec., Nagasu told the New York Times, "I could always visualize myself doing the jump, it was just getting my muscles to react as they needed to." If there were ever to be a primary example of the old adage, "practice makes perfect," her mastering of the triple axel is it.
Nagasu might have made history with her impressive triple axel, but it's evident that the figure skater can do almost anything once she puts her mind to it. You'll get another chance to watch her wow you with the ladies single skating events that will take place on Feb. 21 and 23. Knowing that Nagasu is a superstar-on-ice, you don't want to miss it.