Mirai Nagasu, the 2008 U.S. senior ladies champion, skated Friday morning, February 15, at the Rink at Rockefeller Center for a segment on NBC's Today Show. Under different circumstances, Mirai would be in South Korea competing at the ISU Four Continents Championships, but due to age restrictions, she's ineligible to complete, as are her teammates Rachael Flatt and Caroline Zhang.
I showed up in time to watch and videotape Mirai's warmup and live performance and it was amazing to see the poise and maturity that she exhibited on the ice. I have to keep reminding myself that she's only 14-years-old! (When I was 14, I distinctly remember long stretches of staring out the window.) A minute into the program, her skate slips and she runs into the boards, but like a true pro, she went on with business as usual and continued to skate a lovely program, which included her trademark Biellmann spin, Ina Bauer and gorgeous spiral. I did notice that unlike her warmup, where she was doing triple toe loops and double axels, she did single these jumps due to her knee hitting the boards. She skated to A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes by the Disney Channel Circle of Stars, which was also her 2007 Junior Worlds exhibition piece.
In the skatehouse afterwards, Mirai was icing her knee while being interviewed by reporters. In person, she's so cute and charming and likable and such a great representative of the future of U.S. ladies figure skating. Mirai told us that she has had a full sightseeing schedule during her first visit to the Big Apple. In 24 hours, she went to FAO Schwartz, Central Park, window-shopped at Tiffany's, looked at other stores while walking down Fifth Avenue, and went shopping at the M&M's World Store in Times Square, where she showed me her new purchase -- a pair of earrings with M inscribed on them (for Mirai of course) (see above).
Before Mirai hopped onto a plane back to California, she graciously posed for a self-described "tourist shot" (see top).
Mirai's next competition will be representing the U.S. at the 2008 Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria (February 24 - March 2).