Mirai Nagasu Becomes Second U.S. Woman To Land Triple Axel Internationally, Earns Silver Over Karen Chen

By Gary R. Blockus | Sept. 16, 2017, 11:24 p.m. (ET)
Mirai Nagasu (L) reacts at the kiss and cry after the women's free skate at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships on Feb. 18, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea.

 

U.S. skaters dominated the podium on the final evening of the 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic on Saturday at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex in Utah, taking gold and silver in ice dance, and silver and bronze in the women’s competition.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, sixth at the 2016 world championships, capped off a commanding performance to win the ice dance competition by scoring a 178.80 total.

Hubbell and Donohue, four-time bronze medalists at the U.S. championships, scored 71.15 during Friday’s short dance, and then wowed the judges with a top-of-the-leaderboard 108.65 – the only competitors to break 100 – in Saturday night’s free dance to maintain their lead.

Fellow Americans and 2014 world junior champions Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker won the silver medal with 153.55 points, rebounding from their third-place finish in the short dance. Julia Biechler and Damian Dodge were eighth in their senior international debut.

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In the women’s competition, 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu won silver after a dazzling free skate performance that included a successful triple axel. She landed the three-and-a-half revolution jump in both her programs in Salt Lake City, making her just the second American woman to land the jump in international competition. Tonya Harding was the first in 1991. Kimmie Meissner also landed the jump at U.S. championships.

Nagasu leapfrogged past reigning U.S. champion Karen Chen, who placed fourth at the world championships last year to help the U.S. gain three spots for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Japan’s Marin Honda won gold in her senior international debut with a total of 198.42 to Nagasu’s 183.54. Chen, who was second after the short program, ended the competition with 182.32 points. Mariah Bell, the reigning U.S. bronze medalist, was fifth with 168.66 points, and Paige Rydberg ninth with 119.71.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.