DETROIT – Alysa Liu was already a phenomenon. Now she is national champion at the age of 13.
The Richmond teenager stole the show on Friday night, flipping through a free skate that contained two triaxial axles and 2018 winner Bradie Tennell at the US Figure Skating Championships. Liu became the youngest individual title winner at the event, and once her score was released, she wove her hands over her face.
"I was just happy to outbid my personal best with a clean long program," Liu said.
Liu, who had already landed a triple Axel on Thursday, was second to Tennell on Friday. Tennell fell during her long program and Liu, immediately after skating, seized the opportunity. Her first Triple Axel was in combination with a double toe bow. Then she landed another triple ax, and when she finished her performance ̵
Tara Lipinski was the youngest winner of women's nationality at the age of 14 in 1997, and Scott Allen was 14 when he won in 1964. As a commentator on NBC, Lipinski was there on Friday when her record fell.
"Records are broken," said Lipinski. "It's an honor she does. What a phenomenal talent. "
Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images
Early Friday Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue took a step towards defending their ice dance title and ended up on the table after the rhythm dance. Hubbell and Donohue will compete on Free Dance for their second national championship in a row on Saturday.
The women's competition took place without any big names, with Karen Chen, Mirai Nagasu and Gracie Gold absent for various reasons. Now Liu looks like she could give a boost to American figure skating. The US has not won an Olympic medal in women's figure skating since 2006.
The 4-foot-7-inch Liu had already turned her head in August when she became the youngest woman to reach triple-axles in international competition. On Friday she showed stamina and skill on a big stage, although the international star might have to wait a bit. Under the current age restriction, she will not be able to participate in Worlds until 2022.
"I'm not very worried about this part," Liu said. "Because I have more time to work on my jumps, skating skills, spins and just learn more."
Liu received a score of 217.51. Tennell finished second at 213.59 and Mariah Bell finished third. Tennell stepped out of a triple loop at the start of her program and crashed in a triple attempt.
Noah Trister is an Associated Press writer.