Mirai Nagasu Becomes America’s First Figure Skater to Land Triple Axel at Olympics

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Mirai Nagasu made history in Pyeongchang over the weekend when the figure skater became the first American woman ever to land a triple axel during an Olympic competition.

The 24-year-old Californian landed the notoriously difficult maneuver in the women’s free skate portion of the team figure skating event Sunday.

Nagasu’s bold, impressive maneuver wowed all who saw it, including American figure skating legend Kristi Yamaguchi.

Yamaguchi, who won gold in the 1992 games in Albertville, France, tweeted at Nagasu: “Wow… Congratulations…tears of joy for you again! #1stAmerican3axel #hero”.

Japanese figure skaters Midori Ito and Mao Asada landed after the three-and-a-half rotations in the air during previous Olympics, but Nagasu is the first American woman to do so.

The first woman to ever land the move during any competition will likely be more familiar, at least to American spectators: Tonya Harding.

Before she became infamous in the wake of the attack on nemesis Nancy Kerrigan, Harding made history by landing the triple axel at the 1991 U.S. Championships in Minneapolis.

On Sunday, Nagasu’s move helped push the Americans over the edge to snare the bronze medal as Canada took gold and Russia silver.

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