Figure skater Mirai Nagasu made history and headlines as only the third woman to land a triple axel during competition in Olympic history, and the first American to do so.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 12, 2018
It turns out that the 24-year-old has some surprising ties to the world of hockey: she was once an “ice girl” for the Colorado Avalanche.
— 9NEWS Sports Denver (@9NEWSSports) February 12, 2018
The Olympic medalist worked with the Avalanche during the 2015-16 season, helping to clean the ice and promote the team with a learn-to-skate program in the region as an “ice girl.” The NHL has met criticism from many for the parading of women in scanty outfits as “ice girls,” but the organization and the Colorado franchise were careful to focus on the other aspects of the job in their story about Nagasu.
The Californian had moved to Colorado in 2014 to train with coaches at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, hoping to secure her chance to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics after being passed over for a spot on Team USA in 2014. Around the same time, Nagasu enrolled in the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where she continues to study international business.
On Twitter, Nagasu lightheartedly said that she used the gig as an ice girl to pay for her figure skating training.
Gotta pay for skating somehow! 😂 https://t.co/bzapKJb5fM
— Mirai Nagasu (@mirai_nagasu) February 12, 2018
The Avalanche were lucky to have Nagasu, especially considering she was already a national champion and an Olympian before taking the job as an ice girl. Nagasu competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics at only 16, ultimately finishing just one place shy of a medal in the ladies’ event.
Nagasu has been the subject of much praise in the last day for her historic feat of landing the triple axel during Olympic competition. The triple axel is widely considered to be the most difficult jump to perform for women in the sport. To complete the rare move, which is the only one to use a forward-facing takeoff, skaters must rotate three and a half times in the air and land on the back outside edge of the opposite foot from which they started the jump.
Nagasu’s performance helped the United States secure a bronze medal for the team event, and she’ll vie for another medal when she participates in the individual competition on February 21 and 23.
Headline photo: Maddie Meyer and NHL
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