SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Competing on ice takes patience and practice.
On the rink, Mirai Nagasu teaches kids it’s okay to not always land perfectly.
“It’s always that hunger to be better that makes you a great athlete,” Nagasu said.
At 14-years-old, Nagasu was a national champion.
She also competed in the 2018 Olympics, helping her team win a bronze medal and making history by being the first American female to land the triple axel. One of the hardest and oldest jumps in the sport.
“I didn’t know that I could achieve the triple axle,” Nagasu said. ” [It’s] something that I am still shocked that I did.”
Nagasu retired from the sport in 2020. Now she’s helping teach figure skaters at the Jones Center like Dominika Vargas.
“I am excited to touch up my short program because she’s the one that choreographed it,” Vargas said. “There are definitely some touch-ups that are needed and it’s awesome that she can be here to do that.”
Nagasu reminds the girls, success isn’t about the medals you’ve won but that you got back up after a fall and kept trying.
“You start with a lot of mistakes,” Nagasu said. ” [And] Learning how to handle your mistakes, bounce back from your mistakes, that’s just part of the process.”
A lesson Coach Toni Miller hopes all her students keep in mind as they lace up their skates.
“She is what I need in order for my kids to start to learn to be competitive and start to be successful when they compete,” Miller said.
As for the students, it’s a full circle moment seeing someone they watch achieve the unbelievable now teaching them to believe in themselves.
“I do remember her landing her triple axel in the team event and I thought that was very cool,” Vargas said.
“To share that passion with the kids is something that I really enjoy,” Nagasu said.