Throughout the history of ice skating, the triple axle has been a highly esteemed trick that shows your proficiency in the sport. As most things of that nature, as more people perfected the trick it started to lose its clout.
This trick is mostly performed amongst men, but with women it’s a different story. Within the realm of women’s figure skating it has remained something that proves the skaters excellency.
This year at the Winter Olympics something completely new to the Olympics happened. An American woman successfully pulled off the triple axel. Although she is not the first to do the trick in competition, she is the first woman from the U.S. to land it in the Olympics.
This honor of being the first goes to none other than thes US’s very own Mirai Nagasu. Although she was the first American woman in the Olympics to perform this athletic feat, the first woman to do it in any competition was Midori Ito. She first landed this trick in 1988 at the NHK Trophy.
Outside of that, the first American woman to successfully land it was Tonya Harding. She first landed it at the 1991 Skate America, but she didn’t stop at one, she also became the first woman to ever do two in one competition.
While Tonya has accomplished these amazing things, she’s more known for her infamous involvement in her scandal with Nancy Kerrigan.
Before Mirai became an olympiad, she came from a humble background. She was born to two Japanese immigrants in California. Even before she arose to the heights she's at now, she showed strong signs of where she’d be heading.
In 2007 she was the U.S. junior champion. The very next year in 2008 she became the U.S. senior champion.
Two years later she got second place at the 2010 Olympic trials which sent her to the Vancouver olympic team where she finished fourth and narrowly missed getting a medal. She didn’t do as well as you might suspect after that though.
She went through a rough path after her lose at the olympics. In 2012 she finished 7th at the U.S. nationals. In 2014 when the olympics came back around, she finished 3rd in the trials but was passed over to make the team due to her poor international performance the previous year.
After she heard the devastating news that she didn’t make the team she made the decision to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado where she would continue her training with Tom Zakrajsek, which is where she learned the triple axel.
She knew she had to learn this trick to set herself apart from the other female competitors. She would use this trick as something that would clearly distinguish her from her competition.
As she waited out the long four years between olympics she honed her craft and took her skill to new levels. Now that the Winter Olympics are finally back around she’s in high hopes and shooting for gold.