Mirai Nagasu’s father wanted her to be the next Michelle Wie. Instead of picking up a bag of clubs, the California native went with a a pair of skates and ended up becoming an Olympic skater.
Nagasu grew up in Arcadia and her parents still run a sushi restaurant called Kiyosuza. The 25-year-old won a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics after failing to make the Olympic team in 2014. Nagasu realizes a lot of people connect with her story because of the challenges she’s overcome.
“I thought about quitting a lot after not making the 2014 Olympics,” Nagasu said in a recent interview with CBS Local. “I knew I could be better and work harder. I didn’t want to look back and have regrets as an old grandmother.”
Nagasu’s career on the ice has been a wild roller coaster ride. She was an Olympian at the age of 16 in 2010 and became the first American woman to ever land a triple axel at the Olympic games this past February. However, she never made it to the medal stand in an individual competition. Nagasu wouldn’t change a thing about her story.
“The journey of winning a bronze medal as a team means so much to me,” Nagasu told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I put the medal around my mom’s neck and watched her cry. It was so cool to have been apart of that Olympic team.”
One of Nagasu’s teammates was long-time friend Adam Rippon. The two have been friends since Mirai won her first Senior Title.
“We’ve been friends for over 10 years. The first time he met me, he called me Maganaga. I didn’t even know who he was. We don’t train in the same locations, but every time we’re together, it’s like seeing an old friend.”
While Nagasu has succeeded at the highest level as an Olympic skater, she still enjoys the simple things in life. She is a self-proclaimed foodie who loves the High Five roll at her parents’ sushi restaurant in Arcadia and loves the outdoors.
“I like to go hiking a lot. I tell people I’m from Arcadia and they have no idea where that is. Civilization stops at Pasadena and everyone knows Pasadena because of the Rose Bowl. There’s a hiking trail near me called Mount Wilson that’s really beautiful.”