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Mirai Nagasu becomes first American women to land triple axel in Olympics

Mirai Nagasu becomes first American women to land triple axel in Olympics
Posted at 5:27 AM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 05:33:00-05

American figure skater Mirai Nagasu made history on Monday as she became the first American woman to land a triple axel in the Olympics.

Nagasu, who placed fourth in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and was passed over for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, helped the United States earn the bronze medal in team competition.

Also helping was Adam Rippon, who was also left off the Olympic team four years ago.

"For both of us to be on this team, and to be on the same floor in the village, it's all super exciting," Nagasu said. "He won't stop talking about how exciting this all is, and I go: 'Adam! Adam! You know we still have a job to get done? We still have to skate well!'"

Like a great locomotive, Nagasu began picking up speed the moment her music began, uncorking the same vexing 3½-rotation jump on which Chan fell an hour earlier. She landed it to a roar from the American contingent seated at one end of the ice, joining Japan's Midori Ito and Mao Asada as the only female skaters to land the jump in Olympic competition.

"I could see my teammates standing out of excitement," Nagasu said, "and at that moment I wanted to stop the music and get off, but I still had my whole program ahead of me."

She somehow managed to calm her nerves, hit every jump the rest of the way and score a personal-best 137.53 points to finish second behind Russian star Alina Zagitova.

Her tremendous performance nearly clinched the bronze medal, and it became official when siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani took the ice for the free dance — the final event in the competition.

As the "Shib Sibs" twizzled across the ice, Rippon put an arm around Nagasu and kissed her cheek.

No tears, though. Only joy.