LAKE PLACID - Gliding gracefully across the smooth surface of the 1980 arena, Mirai Nagasu filled the arena with a calm presence at the Lake Placid Winter Ice Extravaganza on Sunday, Feb. 16.
Nagasu skated two programs in the show, first to a pop song then to a sophisticated instrumental piece. During the classical program, the audience was silently appreciative as she jumped and spun, showcasing her uniquely elegant skating style.
The audience probably didn't realize that Nagasu was unwillingly involved in the latest controversy in figure skating.
Mirai Nagasu performs during the Lake Placid Winter Ice Extravaganza on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the Olympic Center. She skated two programs and taught lessons in the Olympic Center.
Photo — Christie Sausa
Following a flawless performance at the 2014 National Championships in Boston, Nagasu was left off the Olympic team despite earning a bronze medal at the event. United States Figure Skating chose Ashley Wagner instead.
This was considered unfair because Wagner fell twice in her performance and placed fourth. Wagner joined national gold medalist Gracie Gold and silver medalist Polina Edmunds on the Olympic team.
It was stated that Wagner was sent instead of Nagasu based on the strength of her "body of work." However, Nagasu's supporters maintained that she should have been sent because of her strong performance at the National Championships, which has been considered the qualifying event for the Olympic Games.
Nagasu was understandably disappointed.
"I can't really say that I agree with the decision; it's not easy watching the Olympics," Nagasu said. "But it's really out of my control, and a lot of people have supported me in so many ways since then."
Although it's obviously not the same as participating in the Olympic Games, Nagasu still enjoyed being in Lake Placid. She had not been here since 2007, when she competed at a Junior Grand Prix event.
"When you're at any location for a competition, you don't really have time to enjoy the atmosphere, I'm so focused on the competition," Nagasu said. "I definitely like this trip better because I did a lot of fun things.
"I am from Southern California so I liked the fresh snow and I skated on the lake."
No doubt a popular question among skating fans has been what Nagasu will do going forward from the events at the National championships, but she is still planning to perform and compete.
"I like doing shows, so I'd like to do those. Right now I have been trying to stay away from skating a little bit," Nagasu said. "I've been skating everyday because I enjoy it.
"It's hard being first alternate because you still have to keep training. Once things have settled down, I think I deserve a vacation. I have already committed to next season so I have to get my plan of action into gear, just like any other year."
While she was here, Nagasu also taught lessons in the Olympic Center. She shared a few words of advice for young skaters aspiring to elite competition.
"It's a tough road but, as with anything, it has its rewards," she said. "After recent events, I can't say 'if you believe it will happen it will happen.' Some things are out of your control, but if you really enjoy something that's all that matters."