Mirai Nagasu to skip Grand Prix, will not skate at 2022 Olympics

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NEW YORK — Mirai Nagasu is on an indefinite break from competitive figure skating. Any return would be an abbreviated one.

“I can definitely tell you that I won’t be around for another Olympics,” Nagasu said at a Manhattan event promoting new sponsor DSW on Wednesday. “After three Olympic cycles, I won’t last another Olympics, but I don’t know about competing [in non-Olympic events] right now. It’s definitely something I have to think deeply on, so I don’t have the answer you’re seeking, but I will always be part of the skating community.”

Nagasu, a two-time Olympian who in PyeongChang became the first U.S. woman to land a triple Axel at the Olympics, said she will sit out the fall Grand Prix series but could return later in the season. The International Skating Union said this week that Grand Prix assignments will be published Thursday.

The U.S. Championships are in January. The world championships are in March.

“Other people deserve the opportunity [on the Grand Prix series],” said Nagasu, who was 10th in PyeongChang and earned a team event bronze medal. “After 10 years [of senior competition], I think I deserve a break. I feel like a lot of other Olympians this year have felt the same.

“After a lifetime of skating, I feel like a little break won’t hurt me.”

Other PyeongChang medalists who either retired or said they won’t compete this fall include Adam RipponJavier FernandezPatrick ChanKaetlyn Osmond and ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.

Nagasu’s skates won’t collect dust. She plans to appear in non-competitive skating shows in Japan and Sun Valley, Idaho, this summer.

Nagasu, 25, is going a similar route as friend Rippon, who said earlier this month that he won’t compete this fall and probably won’t compete again.

Rippon is 28. Nagasu and Rippon are among the older elite figure skaters, but Olympic medalists have competed into their 30s.

If this is the end for Nagasu, she will go out with a U.S. title (at age 14 in 2008), a fourth-place finish at the Olympics (2010), topping the short program at a world championships (2010) and rebounding from missing the 2014 Olympic team (despite a third-place finish at those nationals) to finish second at nationals in January to get to PyeongChang.

She is the only U.S. female singles skater to make multiple Olympic teams since Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan at the end of the U.S.’ golden years in the event in 2006.

Nagasu said she’s a little nervous for a new venture — public speaking events at businesses.

“I’ve been on the skating scene for a long time but never really gotten to share my background story,” said Nagasu, a daughter of Japanese immigrants, who slept in the storage closet of her parents’ California restaurant when they worked at night until she was 14. “So, to tell people what a journey it’s been is something I’m really looking forward to but also a little bit afraid of. I have taken a public speaking course, but to actually put it to use is something that I haven’t done as much as I have skated.”

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

IOC gives more time to pick 2030 Olympic host, studies rotating Winter Games

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The 2030 Winter Olympic host, expected to be Salt Lake City or Sapporo, Japan, is no longer targeted to be decided before next fall, the IOC said in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

The IOC Future Host Commission was granted more time to study factors, including climate change, that could impact which cities and regions host future Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The 2030 Winter Games host is not expected to be decided before or at an IOC session next September or October.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline. For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane last year without a traditional bid race.

There are three interested parties for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday without naming them. Previously, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver were confirmed as bids. Then in October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid. All three cities are attractive as past Winter Games hosts with existing venues.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials have said Salt Lake City is a likelier candidate for 2034 than 2030, but could step in for 2030 if asked.

The future host commission outlined proposals for future Winter Olympics, which included rotating hosts within a pool of cities or regions and a requirement that hosts have an average minimum temperature below freezing (32 degrees) for snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.

The IOC Executive Board gave the commission more time to study the proposals and other factors impacting winter sports.

The IOC board also discussed and will continue to explore a potential double awarding of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts.

Also Tuesday, the IOC board said that Afghanistan participation in the 2024 Olympics will depend on making progress in safe access to sports for women and young girls in the country.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls can play sport in the country.

In a press release, the IOC board expressed “serious concern and strongly condemned the latest restrictions imposed by the Afghan authorities on women and young girls in Afghanistan, which prevent them from practicing sport in the country.” It urged Afghanistan authorities to “take immediate action at the highest level to reverse such restrictions and ensure safe access to sport for women and young girls.”

The IOC board also announced that North Korea’s National Olympic Committee will be reinstated when its suspension is up at the end of the year.

In September 2021, the IOC banned the North Korean NOC through the end of 2022, including banning a North Korean delegation from participating in the Beijing Winter Games, after it chose not to participate in the Tokyo Games.

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March 2021, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”

The IOC said in September 2021 that it “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”

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Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe leaves moguls for another skiing discipline

Justine Dufour-Lapointe
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Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic moguls champion, is leaving the event to compete in freeriding, a non-Olympic skiing discipline.

“After three Olympic cycles and 12 years on the World Cup circuit, I felt that I needed to find a new source of motivation and had to push my limits even more so I can reach my full potential as a skier,” the 28-year-old Montreal native said in a social media video, according to a translation from French. “Today, I am starting a new chapter in my career. … I want to perfect myself in another discipline. I want to connect with the mountain differently. Above all, I want to get out of my comfort zone in a way I’ve never done before.”

Dufour-Lapointe said she will compete on the Freeride World Tour, a series of judged competitions described as:

There‘s a start gate at the summit and a finish gate at the bottom. That’s it. Best run down wins. It truly is that simple. Think skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and nasty couloirs. Think progressive: big jumps, mach-speed turns and full-on attack. Think entertaining.

Dufour-Lapointe has retired from moguls skiing, according to a Freeride World Tour press release, though she did not explicitly say that in social media posts Tuesday.

At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dufour-Lapointe denied American Hannah Kearney‘s bid to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion. Older sister Chloé took silver in a Canadian one-two.

Dufour-Lapointe also won the world title in 2015, then Olympic silver in 2018 behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Chloé announced her retirement in September. A third Dufour-Lapointe Olympic moguls skier, Maxime, retired in 2018.

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