On Sunday, U.S. Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Winter Olympics. The 2008 U.S. champion executed the notoriously difficult move during her free skate program Sunday night.
When she landed the jump, Nagasu became only the third woman to ever nail the move at the Olympics, following in the toe picks of Midori Ito and Mao Asada. The groundbreaking moment must have been particularly vindicating for Nagasu, who was bumped from the Sochi team in 2014 in favor of Ashley Wagner, but this year helped the U.S. win a bronze medal with her score of 137.53, “I was very, very nervous, especially because this is the team event. I owe it to my teammates as well,” the 24-year-old tells ESPN. “I heard them say, ‘Start, start, start!’ especially Alexa [Scimeca-Knierim] because she has a very distinct voice. Right before my last jump, she said to me, ‘You did it, girl!’ I was like, I still have one more jump, but it was a nice little giggle at the end.”
Nagasu’s teammate Adam Rippon also made his Olympic debut last night, where he doubled up on the triple axels during his free skate, and just generally won over the audience.