Mirai Nagasu made Olympic history this weekend for Team U.S.A.

2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 3
Getty Images | Matthew Stockman

Four years ago, figure skater Mirai Nagasu narrowly missed a spot on Team U.S.A. for the Sochi Olympic Games. Not about to miss out again, she doubled down on her training. Her hard work paid off, and she made it to PyeongChang. And she’s already made her mark.

On Monday in PyeongChang, just a few days into the Winter Olympic games, the 24-year-old pulled off a triple axel, making her the first American woman to complete the jump in the Olympics. She landed cleanly, and figure skating fans around the world erupted. Then, she glided through the rest of her triple jumps and graceful choreography. In fact, she completed a total of nine triple jumps.

Her impressive performance helped Team U.S.A. win a bronze medal in the team competition. Take a look at her historic triple axel jump below. So far, it’s received more than 2 million views:

Victory Lap

When she completed her program, Nagasu was just as excited as her fans. “I feel really great,” she shared in an interview 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 teammates standing in excitement.”

Not only was her jump memorable, but Nagasu’s genuine excitement afterwards was just as thrilling. Her post-performance celebration deserves a spot in history as well:

She is the third woman overall to complete a triple axel in the Olympics, with the other two—Japanese skaters Midori Ito and Mao Asada—having achieved the same in 1992 and 2010, respectively.

Fan Favorite

Figure skating fans applauded Nagasu’s incredible accomplishment.


She even garnered praise from celebrities. Reese Witherspoon shared a short but sweet tweet:

Fellow figure skating greats also recognized Nagasu’s accomplishment. For example, Scott Hamilton is no stranger to the pressure of Olympic competition and tweeted his support:

It’s hard for those of us who don’t skate competitively to truly grasp figure skating’s difficulty. So what makes this jump so elusive? The axel is the only forward-facing jump in figure skating. The jump is named after its creator, Axel Paulson, who invented the single version in 1882. A triple variation requires three and a half rotations in the air.

Just thinking about it makes my head spin, so I’ll just stick to watching the professionals. Luckily, there’s plenty more competition left, and plenty more opportunities for athletes to make their mark on history.

Entertainment, Good News

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About the Author
Jennifer Nied
Jennifer Nied is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She focuses on beauty, wellness, and travel stories with a background covering the spa industry.

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