By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Ever since Mirai Nagasu won the U.S. senior ladies’ title in 2008 when she was only 14-years-old, she has thrilled ice skating fans with her elegant yet powerful performances. Nagasu is also a two-time Olympian, competing in Vancouver in 2010, where she came in fourth and then winning a Bronze medal with Team USA in Pyeongchang in 2018. At that competition, she was the first US female skater to land the difficult triple axel at the Winter Olympic games.
Now, Nagasu has brought her talent and skills to Westborough, to join the coaching staff at the North Star Figure Skating Club.
But it is not just the technical side of skating that Nagasu will impart to her young students. She will also be sharing many of the life lessons she has learned along the way.
So how did a skater who grew up in California and has trained and skated all over the world end up in Westborough, Mass.?
“I have skated many times in Boston, including the 2016 World Championships,” she said. “I really fell in love with the region over time.”
It was actually an earlier event in Boston, the 2014 National Championships, that really showed the type of strength and grace this skater has off the ice. In spite of coming in third at that event, she was not named to the team that would represent the USA at the Sochi Olympics that year. Officials instead chose Ashley Wagner who was deemed to have more international experience.
In spite of that heartbreak Nagasu took the high road, earning her praise for her sportsmanship.
This past June she also had another important reason to be in Boston when she had hip surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“I am not yet cleared to jump yet but soon, I hope,” she said.
Although she is no longer competing, she does still enjoy performing and hopes to be able to do that when life resumes normalcy again.
Now, as a coach, Nagasu loves to work with adults as well as kids, she said.
“Kids have less fear but adults have that genuine and passionate interest,” she said.
“I enjoy watching all of my students’ progress and helping them to reach their goals.”
No matter the age, skating is a great metaphor for life, she said.
“We fall every single day. We all have challenges,” she said. “But it doesn’t matter, because it’s important that you just get up every single time. Teaching [my students] how to fall and then get up is an important life lesson.”
On her Instagram feed, Nagasu charmingly shares that philosophy as well, showcasing not just the beauty of her skating but also the stumbles and falls that even champions take on occasion.
Last month she received another award – this time her Bachelor of Arts degree in business from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
“I’m not sure what will be next,” she said. “Maybe getting my MBA. I will always stay in skating in one way or another. But I am excited to see what other opportunities are out there as well.”
(Photos for this story were taken with all social distance protocols in place)