A year ago, Alysa Liu became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion in history at the age of 13. At 4-7, she was so short she needed a helping hand from the two women she defeated to reach the top spot on the medal podium.
Friday night, Liu became the youngest two-time U.S. women’s skating champion at the age of 14. Now 4-10, she is still so short that she again needed another hand from the same two women she defeated to reach the top spot on the medal podium.
“We can help you up again,” runner-up Mariah Bell kindly offered as Liu approached the podium.
Bell is nine years older than Liu. Third-place finisher Bradie Tennell, the 2018 national champion, is seven years older. They have this down by now. With big smiles and a delighted laugh from those in the audience who remained in the arena to watch the medal ceremony, each woman extended a hand and pulled Liu up to her rightful place — the very top of U.S. women’s skating.
“We recreated that moment from last year,” Liu said with a laugh.
If Liu stays healthy and the skating gods oblige, it’s likely they’ll recreate it next year, and even the next, which will be when it really matters, the 2022 Winter Olympic year.
For the second year in a row, U.S. national figure skating champion Alysa Liu, 14, aces the competition but needs a helping hand from the women she defeated to reach the top spot on the medal podium. Watch: pic.twitter.com/bw4Na32la3
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) January 25, 2020
If the United States is to finally win another Olympic medal in women’s figure skating after being shut out in 2010, 2014 and 2018, Liu is by far the nation’s best bet to do it. She became the first woman to attempt a quadruple jump in the history of U.S. nationals Friday with her quad lutz 40 seconds into her four-minute long program, and even though it was under-rotated, it was a breathtaking achievement — and an important signal that she can play ball with the seemingly endless stream of tiny jumpers Russia keeps producing.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Christine Brennan