By Colton Wood
DETROIT – Mirai Nagasu sat tall in a chair in front of three cameras and two LED stage lights, which brought out the features of her face and brightened the white jacket she donned.
Instead of lacing up her skates for the 13th consecutive year at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Nagasu, the first American woman to land a triple Axel in Olympic competition, was behind a desk, holding a microphone.
Nagasu had hip surgery in September; her body isn’t fully healed yet to allow her to get back to competitive figure skating.
But Nagasu couldn’t see herself confined to watching nationals at her home, especially after seeing several of her idols – Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis and Charlie White – come to nationals year after year despite no longer skating competitively.
“Yes, they might all be Olympic champions, and I may have missed those qualifications,” Nagasu said, “but at the same time, I want to give back in a way that I’m capable of.”
She then reached out to U.S. Figure Skating, hoping to find a way to come to nationals in Detroit through a different route.
Shortly after that conversation, Nagasu was given the opportunity to join the Bridgestone Ice Desk crew as an analyst for nationals.
On Thursday, just moments before the pairs’ short program commenced, Nagasu had her broadcast debut.
“I’m used to being in front of the camera, and I enjoy it,” Nagasu said, “but being out on the Jumbotron and being live and not being able to make mistakes, is something I’m not always used to.”
Nagasu said she enjoys watching a multitude of different analytical shows, and realized that to be a broadcaster, you have to be quick on your feet and deliver your answers with “your own twist and your own personality.”
Sitting between host Nick McCarvel and former competitive skater Brooke Castile, Nagasu’s smile shone bright throughout her debut.
She looked confident, which Nagasu admitted was sometimes faked.
“Fake it ’till you make it,” she joked.
Nagasu said she wants to branch out of skating as well, and the opportunity to work on the Ice Desk is a prime beginning.
“For me to be given the opportunity to be a part of the Ice Desk, is something I am really grateful for,” she said. “I’m grateful to my skating and to have found it at such a young age; I think that’s where I’m at right now – being humble and being grateful for everything I have in my life.”
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This is the first time in 11 years that I’m on the other side of things! Make sure you tune in to the @bridgestonetires Ice Desk on @youtube before and after the pairs short program today (4:15 pm ET). We’ll give you an idea of what and who to watch out for. If you’re in house, come show your support! ⛸ #icedesk #theotherside #postsurgery #figureskating #2019 #usnationals #talk #athlete #pairskating #skatingismylife #commentary #usfigureskating #usfigureskatingchampionships #thescoop #bridgestone
As a reminder, you can watch the U.S. Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
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