USA's Mirai Nagasu lands historic triple axel in PyeongChang

Feb 12 2018 Pyeongchang South Korea Mirai Nagasu reacts after her performance in the figure skating singles event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 12 2018 Pyeongchang South Korea Mirai Nagasu reacts after her performance in the figure skating singles event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

In the women's free skate, American Mirai Nagasu had a personal-best 137.53 points, placing her in second.

Nagasu joins Midori Ito and Mao Asada, both from Japan, as the only women ever to land a triple axel at the Olympics.

Not only did her teammates rise in applause, so did skaters from other nations, and not simply because she landed the triple axel so few women even attempt. She appeared to be smiling after landing it, but when her program finished, she went nuts.

Mirai Nagasu skated first in the lineup and she blew everyone away when she landed an historic triple axel, the first time a United States woman has ever been able to complete the element in Olympics competition. Italy's Carolina Kostner, who skated in the short program, earned a 134.00.

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Zagitova, the rising star from Russian Federation and current European champion, topped Nagasu's score by 20 points. The 15 year old trains alongside Yevgenia Medvedeva, and a showdown is expected between the two for the Olympic gold in the ladies event.

The men's free program opened the night with Rippon subbing in for Nathan Chen who had fallen in the short program earlier this week. Chan won it despite several major mistakes - his struggles on the triple axel struck him once again. A first-place finish gets 10 points, second gets nine, etc.

"I'm so proud to be on this team", Rippon said on the NBC broadcast.

"I worked so hard for this moment", said Rippon, who was added to the team by the US committee in January ahead of Ross Miner.

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