Mirai Nagasu has done it! She landed the incredibly difficult (like, a forward takeoff and three-and-a-half rotations in the air, kind of difficult) triple axel at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The feat makes her the first U.S. female figure skater to land it at an Olympic Games.
"This is definitely history, or herstory, whatever way you want to put it," Nagasu told reporters after the historic jump. "[I] knew in my heart that this day would come."
Only two other U.S. female figure skaters have even pulled off a triple axel in competition, period. One being , during the national championship in 1991, and then Kimmie Meissner in 2005. (Nagasu had also landed the jump in competitions last year, but it's fair to say the Olympics is, to use a bad sports metaphor, a whole other ball game.)
Nagasu, who wore a gorg red sparkling costume, scored a personal best of 137.43 points to finish second in the women's free skate as part of the team event, earning nine points. The USA eventually finished in the bronze medal position.
Nagasu, 24, says before the last jump in her program, she could hear Team USA teammate Alexa Knierim, who competed with her husband, Chris, in the pairs portion of the event a day earlier, cheering her on.
"Before my last jump, she said to me, 'You did it, girl!'" said Nagasu. "And I was like, 'I still have one more jump.' It was a nice little giggle at the end because the long program is a test of our muscle ability and stamina and so for her to make me laugh like that, it made me relax a little bit. To nail that last jump was everything."
She adds: "I felt a lot of pressure, because it's a responsibility and a job and I owe it to my teammates as well."
When she completed her flawless routine at the Gangneung Ice Arena, Nagasu pumped both fists high in the air and smiled. She got a standing ovation from the excited crowd — and from her Team USA teammates, with her good friend (and roommate in the Athletes Village; someone give them a reality show ASAP??) Adam Rippon tearing up in the moment.