Two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu switches coaches amid Olympic season

Liu won U.S. nationals in 2019 and 2020, and this season has made her senior international debut. She's headed to Colorado to work with Christy Krall, Drew Meekins and Viktor Pfeifer.

By Nick McCarvel

American figure skater Alysa Liu is switching her coaching team - and location - just six weeks before the pivotal U.S. Championships in early January.

NBC Sports first reported the change - which was verified by U.S. Figure Skating in a statement - that Liu has gone from working with Olympians Massimo Scali and Jeremy Abbott in California's Bay Area and has moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to train with Christy Krall, Drew Meekins and Viktor Pfeifer.

Liu, 16, won her two U.S. senior-level titles at ages 13 and 14, respectively, in 2019 and 2020. She made her senior international debut in September, and helped the U.S. team secure its third women's spot for the coming Olympic Games Beijing 2022.

"I am honoured to work with Alysa, and humbled to get to help her reach her goals this season," Meekins told Olympics.com. "She is a wonderful human, and a great and talented athlete. ... I told Alysa I will be here to guide her through this difficult yet exciting part of the season, and I look forward to helping her step into a training regimen that is intense, tailored, and strategic. I feel strongly that with this kind of work, she can reach her goals at the U.S. Championships and Olympics."

Meekins added that her previous team, led by Scali, Massimo had done "a wonderful job helping her improve her skating skills and components."

Liu is among the contenders of U.S. women to make the three-person squad for Beijing. The selection process culminates at the U.S. Championships, held this year in Nashville, Tennessee, 6-9 January.

The Championships is not an Olympic Trials, instead, the USFS selection committee looks at skaters' body of work, including at international events this season.

Liu keeps eye on Beijing berth

In her debut on the senior Grand Prix Series circuit, Liu was fifth at Skate Canada International and fourth at NHK Trophy.

Prior, in September, Liu won ISU Challenger events at Lombardia Trophy and Nebelhorn Trophy, the latter being the event where she clinched the U.S. its third quota spot for the Games.

While she competed with quadruple jumps in her junior career, the Oakland-native hasn't tried any quads as a senior, having gone through a significant growth spurt in the last two years.

Liu has tried the triple Axel in all four of her Grand Prix programs, but has been called for a quarter under, under-rotated or downgraded jump each time.

“I felt Alysa needed more intensity in her training and the coaches and I were not on the same page as to how the training should be," her father, Arthur, told NBC Sports.

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