HomeAsian Americans14-year-old Alysa Liu seeks to defend title at U.S. Figure Skating Championship
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14-year-old Alysa Liu seeks to defend title at U.S. Figure Skating Championship

Image of Alysa Liu in competition by David W. Carmichael – davecskatingphoto.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Views from the Edge

By Ed Diokno

On Thursday after the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, figure skater Alysa Liu finds herself in a familiar position.

At the competition held in Greensboro, N.C., Bradie Tennell led the women’s skaters with a record-setting score of 78.96. Alysa is in second with a 75.4 score, with Amber Glenn (73.16), Mariah Bell (73.22) and Karen Chen (70.41) rounding out the top five.

In last year’s competition, Liu also trailed a few points behind leader Bradie Tennell. She went on to land a pair of triple Axels in the free, overcoming her short-program deficit and taking gold by 3.92 points. The win made the skater, then 13 years old, the youngest-ever US ladies’ national champion.

Liu has since added a quad Lutz to her arsenal of jumps, which isn’t allowed in short programs. She remains the only active US woman skater to land a triple Axel or a quadruple jump.

Karen Chen, the 2017 US champion and 2018 Olympian, is in fifth place. The Cornell student missed all of the 2018 season due to a stress fracture in her right foot.

In the pairs competition, Jessica Calalang, a Filipina American skater from Elk Grove, California, is within striking distance in fourth place with her partner Brian Johnson. Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov, with a score of 65.06, round out the top five.

The first two finishers in women’s and pairs will represent the US in international competition in the upcoming skating competitions in preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

If the Oakland-based Alysa Liu finishes in first or second, however, the third place finisher will join the US team because the 14-year old is too young to compete in international senior competitions.

The short program for dance pairs will be skated today, and the long program for women and pairs will be skated Saturday. 

Friday marks the beginning of the men’s short program, where Nathan Chen is a heavy favorite to repeat as national champion and Vincent Zhou is expected to compete for the second spot.

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