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Former Avalanche Ice Girl Wins Olympic Medal

Mirai Nagasu helped the United States earn a bronze in the team event

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

Another member of the Colorado Avalanche family is an Olympic medalist.

Mirai Nagasu helped the United States earn a bronze medal during the team event of figure skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics on Monday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Mirai was an Avalanche Ice Girl during the 2015-16 season.

Nagasu, 24, finished the women's free skate portion of the eight-program event in second place with a score of 137.53, setting a new personal best. She had a spectacular performance during her four-minute free skate, which the Southern California native began by landing a triple axel jump.

She is the first American woman to land a triple axel (three-and-a-half rotations) and third women to ever do so at the Winter Games. Tonya Harding and Kimmie Meissner are the only other U.S. skaters to do so in an international competition. Midori Ito and Mao Asada of Japan were the previous two women to land the jump at the Olympics.

"I tripped a couple times going into it because I was so nervous, but to tell myself, 'no, I'm going to go for it, 100 percent and not pull back,' that was really special for me," Nagasu told NBC Sports after her skate.

Her performance was key in Team USA earning a medal and gaining separation from the Italians in the standings. The U.S. finished with a score of 62 in the team event, six more points than Italy. Canada won the gold while the Olympic Athletes from Russia picked up the silver.

From Arcadia, California, Nagasu is currently studying international business at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, which is near the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Nagasu is at her second Olympics after she placed fourth in the ladies individual event at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 16.

A seven-time U.S. national medalist, Mirai won gold in 2008 to become the second youngest skater since Tara Lipinski in 1997 to win the championship. She won a silver medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California, in January to help her earn the Olympic berth.

As an Avalanche Ice Girl in 2015-16, she represented the organization as an ambassador at community and charity events, including learn to skate programs throughout the Rocky Mountain region. She and her teammates also helped maintain the playing surface at Pepsi Center during stoppages of play per the policies and standards set by the NHL and NHLPA.

Mirai will be going for a second Olympic medal on Feb. 21 and 23 in the individual ladies competition.

In men's hockey, two current members of the Avalanche have won Olympic medals. Captain Gabriel Landeskog won silver with Sweden in 2014 and alternate captain Erik Johnson also earned a silver in 2010 as a member of Team USA.

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