Alysa Liu won the third American figure skating championship and the first Olympic place

Nashville, Tennessee- Liu Ailing Has won two U.S. figure skating championships, broke Tara Lipinski’s record of being the youngest champion at the age of 13, and defended his title in North Carolina with an incredible free skating the following year .

No wonder the lively skater from Northern California didn’t have much pressure in the national competition this week.

“I think I have basically ruled out everyone’s expectations of me,” said Liu, Now 16. “I don’t know how I did it. But I really changed my opinion last year. And I really didn’t feel too much pressure. I’m not very nervous either.

“Actually,” she Say, “It feels better than all the other nationals I’ve been to.”

This is a good thing.

It is more dangerous than ever.

Liu Are not old enough to participate in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, so this week’s representative she The first opportunity to win a seat on the U.S. Olympic team.While at the same time she Not yet executed she Your own high standards or expectations this season, Liu It is still the best chance for American women to defeat the highly-loved Russian team from one step of the podium at the Beijing Olympics next month.

LiuThe best result of the season in the Lombard Cup was 219.24 points, which was lower than the Grand Prix and ranked fifth among all potential competitors in China. Although the gap with the Russian record-maker Kamila Valjeva is as big as that of the Pacific, the gap with the medal table is definitely within reach.

All of this feels counterintuitive Liu Feeling so free at this year’s National Championship, which started at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night and lasted until the weekend.

“I feel it’s best to enter this field because I started to care less about, for example, expectations,” Liu Say. “So it feels good without that kind of pressure. Now skating is more fun. I am skating with my friends, which makes it better. I just don’t care what other people say because I feel like some people–I just I feel like I no longer hear what other people are saying because I realize how stupid they sound. Honestly, I don’t even know. I’m just mature.”

There is a lot of buzz Liu since she 2019 Detroit National Championships.

moment, Liu Appointed as the next golden boy in the United States, has a unique American background story: the daughter of a lawyer from Chinese immigrant origin, her enthusiasm for Kwan Yingshan helped guide the eldest of his five children-all through anonymous donations Ovum and surrogate mother conceived-the skating rink at the age of 5.

The spotlight was hot and dazzling.Every move Liu Made to be analyzed and dissected, even if she Soaring to two junior Grand Prix victories during the 2019-20 season she As a waiting Olympian.

Then came the pandemic. And it is growing rapidly. The third American woman ever to complete a three-axis race in a race, and the first American woman to win a four-axis race, she suddenly started struggling in the race. she Routine she I used to take it for granted.

she Struggled to fourth place in last year’s national competition and failed to win a medal she Two Grand Prix missions this season, he won fifth place in the Canadian Skateboarding Competition in October and fourth place in the NHK Trophy in November.

All of these have led to difficult decisions that many professional athletes must make, but when the Olympics are approaching, such a decision is almost never made: Liu Changed the coach. she moved she From the training base in California with Jeremy Abbott and Massimo Scali to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to work with Christy Krall, Drew Meekins and Viktor Pfeifer.

This week, she will learn whether these changes have worked.

“Now everything is going well,” Liu Say. “At first because it was a sudden change for me, I didn’t handle it well, but after a week or two I got excited again. I got a lot of support from my team.”

she Defending champion Bradie Tennell, who finished 9th in Pyeongchang this week, retired due to a lingering foot injury. This also prevents Tennell from being selected for the Olympic team unless she can successfully apply for a place on the team.

Then stay LiuBiggest competitor Nashville As Karen Chen, ranked 11th in Pyeongchang, she is trying to recover from a foot injury; Mariah Bell, who finished fourth in the Rostelecom Cup; Amber Glenn, a silver medalist a year ago; and 14-year-old Isaboo. Isabeau Levito, the incumbent American youth champion, is too young for the Olympics.

Just like Liu once Upon a time.

Chen said: “We are all working towards the same goal. Only the three of us can enter the Olympic team.” “I think back to 2018 and how I got this position, which to some extent gave I am confident. But on the other hand, I think that as a person, a skater and an athlete, I have changed a lot. The experience I learned from 2018 does not apply to me to some extent, because I It’s a completely different person. But I know it’s in my grasp. I’m super capable of getting a place in that team.”

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