April 2 (UPI) — Coming off a historic Olympic performance, U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu is performing on the national Stars on Ice tour, enjoying the freedom of skating for an audience without the technical pressures of competition.
“I am much better at performing and showcasing my emotions [on tour] because I’m not so worried and I don’t have to concentrate on holding my spins or doing my edges clean and my jumps clean,” Nagasu told UPI. “It’s a lot less calculation and I really get to enjoy the freedom of skating.”
At the Winter Games in South Korea, Nagasu, 24, became the first U.S. woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics. She won a team bronze in Pyeongchang and finished in the top 10 at the individual event.
“I’m told a lot to take the expression I show in my show skating and to apply it to my competitive skating, but I think it’s still something I’ve yet to work on,” she said.
Nagasu is one of the top skaters showcased at the invitation-only Stars on Ice tour, which also includes Team USA stars Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon, as well as 2014 Olympic champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
This is Nagasu’s third tour with Stars on Ice. She was featured in 2010 after coming in fourth at the Vancouver Winter Games and again in 2014 after being infamously passed over for the Olympic team in favor of Ashley Wagner, who finished behind her at nationals. Wagner is also on this year’s tour.
Since February’s Olympic finish, Nagasu has been flooded with off-ice opportunities, including attending the Oscars and, of course, touring prospects. “A girl is always looking to work,” she said.
Still, she spends most of her off-season time touring, training and taking care of her three dogs, which she walked during this interview.
Mirai looks forward to the time spent with close friends during the tour, but revealed that if she had to choose any Team USA member to skate a program with, she’d go for bobsledder Lauren Gibbs.
“I’m going to pick Lauren Gibbs, who won the silver in bobsledding, because during the closing ceremony, she picked me up and I was like, ‘Whoa! You’re so strong!’ She’s ripped,” Nagasu joked. “I skated with Adam [Rippon] already, so I would pick Lauren.”
Unfortunately, Gibbs isn’t much of a figure skater. But Rippon, one of Nagasu’s closest friends on Team USA, is on the Stars on Ice tour, as well.
The Stars On Ice tour runs through late May, with tickets still available for many venues.