Alysa Liu becomes first American woman to land quad

US figure skating champion Liu nails quad Lutz as she wins on Junior Grand Prix debut in Lake Placid

By Rory Jiwani

Alysa Liu completed victory on her Junior Grand Prix figure skating debut in Lake Placid in spectacular fashion.

The 14-year-old became the first American woman to land a quad jump in ISU competition - a quad Lutz - in her free skate.

Despite falling on a triple Axel, the US champion scored a comfortable win with her rivals more than 20 points behind.

"It’s pretty cool. I don’t obsess. It’s my first big competition this season, and I’m just trying to learn from it." - Alysa Liu speaking to NBC Sports

Taking on the best juniors

Liu announced herself to the world in January, breaking Tara Lipinski's record as the youngest winner of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Her youth means she will not be eligible for senior competitions until the 2021-22 season, just in time for the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

A week ahead of her Junior GP debut, she landed a quad Lutz at the Aurora Games in New York but that was not an ISU-sanctioned event.

In Lake Placid, host city of the 1980 Winter Olympics, she scored 69.30 points for her short program to take a narrow lead.

Skating to 'New World Symphony', Liu started her free skate on Saturday evening with a triple Axel-double toe loop combination followed by the quad Lutz.

She then fell on a triple Axel but was soon back on track and landed triple Lutz-triple toe loop and triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow combinations on her way to a score of 138.80.

Liu's total of 208.10 was well clear of South Korea's Park Yeonjeong on 186.58 with Anastasia Tarakanova of Russia third on 179.29.

Afterwards, Liu told NBC Sports, "My triple Lutz, for me it’s easier than all my other triples. Salchow is harder than Lutz. It’s my favourite jump, and it’s the easiest to do.

"My favourite things to practise are jumps. My least favourites are – well, I’m not sure what least favourite is. I like all of it, but I like jumps best."

Her long-time coach Laura Lipetsky says Liu hasn't changed her approach since becoming one of the world's most exciting prospects.

He said, "There is a lot of work beforehand, as far as training. And then we have our own ritual before she gets on the ice.

"We laugh a lot; we have a lot of fun. That’s what is important in the sport, working hard but having fun as well."

Liu competes next in three weeks' time at the Baltic Cup in Gdansk, Poland where she could come up against some of Europe's top juniors.


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