At just 12 years old, American figure skater Alysa Liu cemented her place in the history books when she landed a triple axel in the 2018 Asian Open competition. While some child prodigies may have let the accomplishment go to their heads, Liu kept her attention focused on improving her skills and competition. But her mind was not entirely devoted to her competitors. “No,” Liu smiled and told Team USA. “I just enjoy it.”
Liu has the unexpected benefit of having time to bask in the glory of her achievements at such a young age. She became back-to-back champion at the US Figure Skating Championships in 2019 and 2020 at ages 13 and 14, respectively, but she is too young to enter the international seniors competition. “Alysa has a long and bright future.” figure skating legend Michelle Kwan told Time.
After she landed three triple axels in February 2019 and became the youngest ever United States champion at 13 years old, she quickly set her sights on increasing the difficulty and technique of her jumps. Liu landed a quadruple lutz in competition at the 2019 Junior Grand Prix USA, the first American woman to do so. After departing from her lifelong coach Laura Lipetsky and with her new coaching staff of Massimo Scali, Lori Nichol, and Lee Barkell in tow, Liu is focusing on the “development of speed and power in her overall skating and continued development and consistency in all of her jumps,” Barkell told NBC Sports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected her training, as Liu had to begin working with her new coaching trio remotely, but not much of her normal life. Liu, unlike her four siblings, has always completed her schoolwork online and is set to finish high school in 2022, when she is just 16 years old. That same year, she will be eligible for international senior competition for the first time, which coincides with the Winter Olympics, which are to be held in Beijing. But Liu is in no hurry to age into senior competition. “Time goes by fast,” Liu said to Team USA. “I have more time to practice.”
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