Women to Admire: Mirai Nagasu


Mirai Nagasu could have been a three-time Olympian, but instead, she’s one of a select club of women to ever land the triple axel at the Olympics.

At the risk of saying the obvious, figure skating is a hard sport. Most of the sports at the Winter Olympics are ridiculously hard. With a difficult sport, it’s even harder to become a world-class skater and to compete for spots at the Olympics just once, let alone three separate times. And yet we’re here to talk about Mirai Nagasu as one of our Women to Admire today.

She’s been skating since the age of five, according to her official Team USA profile, and first qualified for the Olympics in 2010 as a teenager.  If that’s not enough to make you worry about what you were doing with your life in 2010, try getting rejected from your second Olympic Games. In 2014, she didn’t make the team — but did she quit?

No, she did not. Instead, she rallied and came back to try again in 2018. We can’t blame NBC for talking about it a lot during last year’s Olympic Games. That’s the kind of tenacity that makes for a good narrative. It’s not just a trite little story. To spend four years wrangling with yourself is not easy, not when there are always younger skaters hungry to qualify, too.

So what did Mirai do?

She added a triple axel to her arsenal. Ironically enough, she’s the third woman to do so at the Olympics… and also the first American woman to land it.

That triple axel — and the rest of her skate in the team competition — helped propel the U.S. figure skating team to a collective bronze. That might not seem like much, but considering that the other top two teams were Canada and the Olympic Athletes from Russia, two powerhouses of skating, that’s a serious accomplishment.

Read. Women to Admire: Michelle Obama. light

I admire Mirai Nagasu not just because she’s a wonderful figure skater, but also because she’s an example of not giving up. And hey, I might not be able to do anything remotely resembling a jump on figure skates — really, I can barely skate — but you don’t need to skate to appreciate her drive.

Editor’s Note: Every day in March, we here at Culturess will feature a Woman to Admire — both real and fictional — for Women’s History Month. Keep coming back every day to see who’s made it on the list.