On January 25, at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Michigan, Alysa Liu became the youngest figure skating champion at thirteen years old, showcasing her grace and talent. She had a magical performance where she completed eight triple jumps and two triple axels, scoring a total of 217.51 points. She is the first female in figure skating history to perfectly land two triple axels, which is shocking considering how young she is.
“When it comes to age, it doesn't really matter nowadays. When you want to achieve something, all it takes is a bit of intellect, hard work, determination, grit, dedication, and discipline,” said Bryan Lau, XIIIs.
When Alysa and her coach, Laura Lipetsky, saw that Alysa had won, they were immediately overcome with joy.
“All that hard work really paid off,” Alysa said afterward, “It sunk in right after I did it and then it kind of went away. I’m just waiting for it to sink back in again.”
Although, when medals were being presented, Alysa was faced with yet another challenge. She, being four feet and seven inches tall, had to climb the two foot high top step of the medal podium to receive her award. However, her fellow competitors gave her a hand.
Last year’s national champion, Bradie Tennell, 21, scored 213.59 points coming in second place to Alysa. She fell once during her performance which cost her the first place title. Mariah Bell, 22, was the third place finisher, scoring a total of 212.40 points.
Although Alysa’s win was a major shock to the rest of the world, Tara Lipinski, professional figure skater and commentator, believed that Alysa had a real shot at winning before the competition. In an NBC Sports article, Tara said that we would definitely see her on the first place podium.
Alysa earning such a magnificent title at thirteen years old has a huge impact on the youth, proving that no dream is too big or impossible.
“I think that in some sports age matters because of violence or strength, but sometimes it doesn't matter as much as you'd think. As long as you really love it and work really hard, I think you can accomplish a lot even at a really young age,” said Tallulah Stallvik, XIIsP.
For Alysa, she has a long journey ahead of her to continue her figure skating career. With time, she can improve and grow physically and mentally and who knows, we just might see her in the 2022 Winter Olympics, when she is sixteen.
Sources: Newsela, USA Today, NBC Sports, The Guardian