This story was originally published in the January 12, 2018 issue of The Slant. Want Asian American news, media and culture in your inbox every week? Subscribe here.
Heralded by angel trumpets and songs from on high, U.S. Olympian Ashley Wagner will once again grace the Winter Olympics with her presence, skating to La La Land songs while— * holds finger to earpiece *
Sorry folks—it sounds like Ashley Wagner’s not going to be at Pyeongchang. It’s not like 2014 at all!
Some would say it’s the reverse
Yep, Japanese American Mirai Nagasu, who was passed over for the 2014 Olympics in favor of Ashley Wagner, despite Nagasu finishing third at the U.S. Nationals over Wagner’s fourth place, is back on the ice.
Except she never left. Since 2014, Nagasu’s become one of only three American women to complete the triple axel in international competition, which asks the skater to jump, complete 3.5 rotations in the air, and land backwards—seen performed here by Japanese skater Mao Asada.
And instead of sipping tea while gleefully reading the news, Nagasu reflected on what’s kept her going.
“I took on the full responsibility of becoming a stronger competitor and person,” she told Bleacher Report. “I wasn’t going to let a decision that wasn’t mine keep me from my dreams.”
The full roster
Mirai Nagasu joins a strong Asian American lineup on the U.S. skaters, including, as Phil Yu notes, Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou, Madison Chock, and Maia and Alex Shibutani.
And so far, Asian Americans also round out Team U.S.A. in short track speedskating (J.R. Celski, Thomas Hong, and Aaron Tran) and, of course, snowboarding, with X Games champ Chloe Kim.
— Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, who’s still bitter over Newsweek’s interesting profile of Kristi Yamaguchi