The world of U.S. figure skating just got a new champion. At the January 25th U.S. figure skating championships, 13-year-old Alysa Liu defeated 2018 champion Bradie Tennell, becoming the youngest winner ever. The Guardian reports that in her star-making routine, Liu landed not one, but two triple axels, making her the first woman ever to do so. Only Tonya Harding and Kimmie Meissner have landed the jump at the U.S. nationals in 1991 and 2005 respectively. Prior to Liu’s victory, Tara Lipinski held the record for youngest U.S. women’s champion, winning the 1997 championship when she was just 14.
USA Today notes that Liu has three years before she’s old enough to compete in the world championships and one year until she’s eligible for the junior world championships. But by the time 2022 rolls around, she’ll be 16—and able to go to the Olympics. Liu finished with a total of 217.51 points. When her free skate score of 143.62 was revealed, putting her in first place, the 13-year-old covered her face in disbelief.
Afterward, it was clear that she was still processing the victory.
Lui stands at 4’7″, so taking her place at the top of the podium was slightly challenging. However, in another sweet moment, Tennell and third-place winner Mariah Bell helped the tiny-but-mighty champion onto the step.
Lipinski herself congratulated Liu on her record-setting win, and on Twitter, she called the 13-year-old “the future of U.S. ladies skating.”
We can’t wait to watch Liu’s skating career as it unfolds (and we have no doubt we’ll be seeing her at the Olympics).