Centered Spin
Don't Miss

Mirai Nagasu: Coming Full Circle

Embed from Getty Images

It has taken Mirai Nagasu 8 years to make it back to the Olympic Games. Mirai’s story is certainly one of perseverance. There had to have been many moments where she wanted to give up, but her hard work has paid off and she will be a two-time Olympian.

“The hardest part about going to the Olympics is making the team,” Nagasu said in a teleconference on January 30. “I think that making the team is more stressful than anything because there are a lot of unknown factors. Now that I’ve been named to the team, it’s been really about enjoying the process and trying to hit my peak at just the right moment.”

Photo courtesy of Elena Vasileva

Photo courtesy of Elena Vasileva

Learning how to deal with the media

Mirai Nagasu has grown up in the public eye. Her talents and abilities drew attention from a young age. Nagasu was only 14 when she won her first U.S. title. Her victories and her heartaches have been on display for the world to see. She has been through seasons where the media adored her and other seasons where she has been the focal point of criticism. Needless to say, her journey has been anything but private.

“Talking to you (referring to Phil Hersh) made me mature really quickly because I would read the article and I would be like, oh my God this is not how I want to be portrayed,” Nagasu said in response to one of Phil’s questions. “I think now I’m still witty and I like to think of myself as intelligent, but I have my moments.,” She said with a laugh. “At the same time I feel like I still have a great personality, I have just have fine tuned it a little bit.”

A second chance

Mirai was only 16 when she went to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She was so young and there was a lot that she didn’t get to experience. Now that Nagasu is 24, she hopes that her time at the Olympics will be more substantial. She recognizes and appreciates the significance of the Olympics in a whole new way now that she is older and had to work that much harder to make it to the Games.

“I think that one thing that I really regret from Vancouver is that I didn’t take the opportunity to go out and enjoy the other sports,” Mirai said. “I was so wrapped up in my own little bubble…I think that this experience will be completely different.”

This experience will be different for Nagasu for several reasons, besides her age. When Mirai competed at the Games in 2010, they didn’t have the figure skating team event. Nagasu hopes to be selected to be a part of the team event and hopefully perform her free skate. Mirai also has the triple axel in her arsenal, which is a jump that she did not have in her performances back then. She is one of the few women in the world who can perform the triple axel and she is planning on including the jump in both her short program and her free skate.

Her own cheering section

Nagasu is excited to perform on the world’s largest stage, not just for her fans, but for her family as well. Mirai recalled how her mom helped sew her costumes when she was young. She acknowledged the role that her parents have played in her skating career. Both her mom and her dad will be at the Olympic Games to cheer her on.

“I think that my parents are more excited than I am,” Mirai said. “I am really happy that they are getting this opportunity, especially my dad. My dad is the owner and sushi chef at the restaurant. That restaurant is his baby and his life’s dream. He’s never really had time to watch me skate and so for him to close the restaurant even for a week to come watch me skate, it means the world to me.”

Mirai’s comeback story

It has been a long 8 years for Nagasu. She has learned and grown so much since her last Olympic Games. In those 8 years her true character has been revealed. She was honest and vulnerable with the media, even when it meant that the headlines were not in her favor. Her courageous and tearful performance at the gala, following the announcement that she would not be named to the 2014 Olympic Team will not be forgotten. Her determination to land the triple axel will forever be admired. Her comeback story, regardless of what happens at the 2018 Olympic Games, will always serve as a reminder of what it means to persevere.

“Being named to the Olympic Team has a really special meaning to it, because it feels like I have come full circle,” Mirai said. “It was really, really heartbreaking to not be named to the team in Sochi, but some things are just not meant to be. I think that experience really changed me as a skater and I took a step back…I was very upset for a really long time, but I changed myself and became a better skater.”

She continued, “I don’t think that I would have worked as hard on the triple axel if I didn’t have that time to really contemplate…it was a conscious decision to make a comeback, even though I hadn’t taken a break or anything. To have overcome that little bit of a slump, it’s something that not a lot of skaters have the perseverance to get through. I’m really proud of not just overcoming that part of my life, but also doing it in public so that it sends a strong message that it is possible.”

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Figure Skating Articles for Monday, February 5, 2018 | BLAZING BLADES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *