Alysa Liu is a bit of a daredevil. She loves roller coasters, her new dog and doing triple axels with deceptive ease.
At 13, Liu recently became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion with a performance that included three triple axels, the difficult jump that’s actually 3½ rotations. She’s not old enough to compete in senior-level events, such as this week’s Four Continents Championships in Anaheim, and she can’t compete in junior-level events until next year. However, she would be eligible to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and although that seems a long way off, she isn’t impatient. “Time goes by fast,” she said Thursday at Honda Center.
Liu, a home-schooled ninth-grader who was born in Clovis and trains in Oakland, landed her first triple axel when she was 12. Her coach, Laura Lipetsky, said that a year ago they had modest aims for the U.S. competition. “We had a goal of trying to do well at nationals and she did that,” Lipetsky, a former national competitor, said of Liu.
There’s an understatement. Liu said the past couple of weeks since she won her title have been “very hectic, very busy, flight to flight and a lot of interviews.” She has appeared on “The Today Show,” and “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” which she called “really fun. They’re all nice.”
Being a spectator for the women’s event at the Four Continents event instead of being a competitor was “not too weird actually,” she said. She said she was happy for the strong performances on Thursday from Bradie Tennell and Mariah Bell, whom she defeated to win her national title. “They skated so well,” she said.
Without any other competitions coming up for her in the next few months, Liu plans to practice a lot. She tried a quadruple jump at her regional competition in October and fell because it was underrotated, and she didn’t work on it again because she instead focused on landing her triple axel. “I want to work on skating skills,” she said. “I also wish to get some quads before I compete. I want to improve everything.”