*Photo from Mirai’s fire Instagram account. Make sure you follow her!
On February 11, 2018 Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics and only the third woman in history to do so at that level of competition. With that jump, she helped Team USA win the bronze medal in the Figure Skating Team event but to relegate Mirai’s achievement to a part of a larger team is to miss her true victory. It is not only that she made history cementing her place among the greats of American figure skaters, but that she did it four years after she was passed over for the Olympic team.
Those in the know remember in the weeks leading up to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, Mirai Nagasu – who already competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, placing 4th – was passed over in favor of Ashley Wagner. But, this is not a redemption story. This is a story of grit, perseverance and determination. This is the story of how the world told a woman she wasn’t good enough and she turned around and replied “Oh yeah? Watch me.”
Mirai could have removed herself from the competition circuit or quit skating altogether, but she didn’t. Instead she doubled down with renewed resolve and added a triple axel to her arsenal. It’s a valuable lesson for young figure skaters, and especially young women: when you get knocked down, come back swinging. Mirai showed all those watching in Pyeongchang and here at home that hurdles can be overcome – and with pizazz at that.
So from all of us who needed a boost of inspiration, thank you Mirai Nagasu.