Mirai Nagasu Is Making the Most of Her Olympics Disappointment

Mirai Nagasu is a lesson in perseverance at Olympics

- Figure skating: The women's free skate competition wraps up with Bradie Tennell (2018 national champion), Mirai Nagasu (2010 Olympian), and Karen Chen (2017 national champion) expected to lead the Americans.

The final competitive event of figure skating at the Pyeongchang Games is underway with Russian rivals Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva dueling for the gold medal.

"It's been a long three weeks, and we got here, got to walk in the Opening Ceremonies, and then I saved the team event with Adam [Rippon] and the Shibutanis".

"What I can say is that there is a lot of pressure", Chen said, "and Bradie and I, this is our first time at the Olympics".

Medvedeva seemed well on her way to Olympic gold as she went unbeaten for two seasons.

Nagasu had little trouble dominating the conversation in a joint press conference with Chen and Tennell on Sunday, and not because she was driven by ego or prone to hyperbole. Tennell skated in the team competition's short program, finishing fifth (68.94), and knocking off the nerves along the way. "I am extremely disappointed, I'm not going to lie", Chen said, per People.

She didn't even attempt the jump during her free skate.

Should the competition play out that way, it isn't likely to help the sport's withering popularity in the U.S. American skating icons such as Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano and Dick Button blame the downturn on a lack of rivalries, a dearth of recognizable personalities, an inscrutable judging system and an overemphasis on jumps. "I tried so hard and I worked my butt off and I'm so proud to have competed with such awesome girls", she told NBC. "I wish I could land it perfectly every time".

"It's tough to find that talent, that wants to dedicate themselves and challenge themselves to everyone in the world", said Fleming, who won gold at the 1968 Grenoble Games.

Her fellow U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon was also not selected that year. And that was before her freakish remarks afterward in the mixed zone which included thinly veiled shots at USA team-mate Nathan Chen and the revelations her focus during the free skate was "auditioning for Dancing With the Stars". "I don't. I'm not a happy camper in the world of skating today".

Tennell, a soft-spoken 20-year-old in her first full senior worldwide season after back injuries, said she wasn't sure what the reasonable expectations should have been for these US women.

"I didn't have an idea what the village was going to be like, so it was all so brand new and so different and the biggest change for me was not being able to see my mom 24/7 and for me that was something that I really missed". They didn't mesh with all the work, all the self-inflicted hype about the triple axel, all the talk of redemption after being left off the team for Sochi. "And you know, I practice it a bunch of times and you've just got to go out there and do what you can do". As the first skater on the ice, that total should keep her in first place for quite a while. We've had so many other commitments. The decision to train for four more years will have financial implications for her family, logistical implications for the entirety of her mid-20s, and physical implications for a body she's already put through enough triple axels to give her achy joints for years to come. It's a little bit embarrassing that we're athletes and we're just crying on a rooftop. We all make mistakes.

They've won exactly zero at the three Olympics since and have only made the podium once in the last 11 world championships: Ashley Wagner's home-soil silver in 2016.

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