“Mirai” means “future” in Japanese, and Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu has always been focused on it.
Mirai’s journey began in Montebello, California. An only child, Mirai was born to Kiyoto and Ikuko Nagasu and raised in Arcadia, California, where her parents own the restaurant, Sushi Kiyosuzu. As the daughter of Japanese immigrants, Mirai holds dual citizenship in the United States and Japan. She notes the importance of her mixed heritage, embracing the blend of U.S. and Japanese culture.
Mirai began skating at the age of five, citing the fortuitous beginnings to her love of the ice. “Due to typical sunny beautiful California weather, my parents always loved to take me to play golf with them...but one rainy day, my mom decided to take me ice skating and that's when I knew I wanted to keep skating...Bye bye golf!”
Mirai quickly took the skating world by storm.
Mirai won the U.S. junior national title at the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The following year, she won the U.S. senior title - an incredible feat for any skater.
In 2010, with the Olympics on the line, Mirai came through like a star placing second at the 2010 U.S. Championships. Mirai stole the show, lighting up the rink with her energy, poise and infectious smile. She placed a very impressive 4th place finish at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
In the ensuing years, Mirai battled injuries and coaching changes, but her passion for skating never wavered.
In 2014, she came so close to qualifying for the Olympics a second time. Mirai placed third at the U.S. Championships, but was left off the Olympic Team. This setback did not deter Mirai, but only made her stronger. Mirai made it one of her goals to become one of a select group of women in the world to land the triple axel jump.
In January 2018, Mirai was the buzz of the national championships. She was praised for her commitment to the sport, and for coming back after the sting of missing the 2014 Olympic Team. Mirai won the silver medal and was so emotional after her free skate that she sobbed in the kiss and cry. This time, they were tears of joy as she earned her spot back on the U.S. Olympic Team.
“I really took time to remodel myself, because I didn’t want to feel that regret,” Mirai said during the announcement on NBC’s Today Show. “This has been about my journey and my goal to get here. To accomplish it has been a dream come true.”
At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Mirai made history by becoming the first American woman and only the third woman in history to land a triple axel in an Olympic Winter Games. She performed the difficult three-and-a-half revolution jump, helping Team USA win a bronze medal in the Olympic team event. “It was my dream moment,” Mirai said. “It felt like the stars aligned.”
Immediately after the Olympics, Mirai competed on Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars with her partner, Alan Bersten while touring with Stars on Ice. Mirai made her commentating debut for Ice Desk at the 2019 U.S. Championships. Recently, Mirai was the host for Ice Talk, U.S. Figure Skating’s podcast.
In December 2020, Mirai graduated from UCCS (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) with a degree in business administration. She has been accepted to the Dartmouth College Tuck Next Step program, which helps Olympians, elite athletes and military veterans transition into business careers. Mirai also is part of Ernst and Young's (EY) Women Athletes Business Network, which helps female athletes learn how to take the skills and mindset and translate them into the business world.
Mirai, 28, resides in Boston and has two dogs: Lincoln and Pika. She is an athlete Ambassador for the charity Right To Play. During COVID-19, Mirai became involved with Power of 10, a Washington DC based initiative which funds restaurants so they can rehire staff and cook food for healthcare workers and others affected by the pandemic.
Mirai looks forward to performing on the 2021 Stars on Ice Canada tour this fall.