Here Are 7 Fun Facts About Alysa Liu — the 16-Year-Old Figure-Skating Olympic Hopeful
Named one of the 10 Athletes to Watch at the Winter Olympics 2022 by Team USA, 16-year-old Alysa Liu is the figure-skating Olympic hopeful fans have their eyes set on for the Beijing Games. The Bay Area native, who has just entered the senior level in figure skating, already has a bountiful collection of titles, including a bronze medal from the junior world championships in 2020 and two US Figure Skating National gold medals (2019 and 2020).
Liu became well-known on the ice for her ability to land difficult jumps at such a young age. For example, at the 2019 junior Grand Prix, a 14-year-old Liu landed a quadruple lutz, becoming the first US woman to land any type of quad jump in an ISU (International Skating Union) competition.
While many are looking forward to her Olympic debut, Liu is slated to compete at Skate Canada this weekend — making it her ISU Grand Prix debut at the senior level. Prior to her upcoming senior-level international debut, Liu participated in the Beijing 2022 Team USA Media Summit on Oct. 18, in which a virtual room of reporters, including POPSUGAR, got a chance to speak with Liu herself about her upbringing, life as a skater, and life out of the rink. Ahead, learn more about Liu on and off the ice.
Alysa Liu Has Been Skating For 11 Years
During the summit, Liu mentioned that her father brought her and her sister to the rink when she was 5 years old. She said she enjoyed it so much that she ended up taking lessons and has been skating ever since.
In 2019, Alysa Liu Became the Youngest US Figure Skating Champion
In 2019, when Liu was 13 years old, she became the youngest US Figure Skating Champion. The previous youngest US Figure Skating Champion was Tara Lipinski. Lipinski was 14 years old when she claimed the title back in 1997.
Best of all, Lipinski, who's now a commentator for NBC, was at the championship in 2019, so she got to watch Liu break her record in real time.
Alysa Liu Has Figured Out Why She Skates — Her Education
At the summit, Liu explained that she used to skate "because it was fun and I was with my friends all the time." Now, she skates because she wants to "get into a good college for [my] education, but I'm also [skating] for myself."
Liu mentioned that she's been able to learn a lot about herself over the past year and that the process of self-discovery has been a positive one.
Figure Skater Nathan Chen Is One of Alysa Liu's Inspirations
While they don't train together, during the summit, Liu said that she does look to "the best skater in the US" Nathan Chen as a source of inspiration who "motivates [her] to do better in practice and makes [her] want to get on ice and skate."
Alysa Liu's Precompetition Ritual Has Evolved Over the Years
In an interview on the Today show, a 13-year-old Liu said she would jump eight times in front of her coach before she got on the ice to compete. During the summit, Liu explained that she no longer does her precompetition jumps. Nowadays, she "drown[s]" herself in music.
Even With a Packed Training Schedule, Alysa Liu Still Finds Time to Chill With Friends
Even though Liu only has one-and-a-half days off a week (half of Saturday and all of Sunday), she said she's still able to hang out with friends. "It's pretty easygoing with balancing my train[ing] life and then my social life, because I skate with my friends and then I hang out with them on the weekends."
Alysa Liu Has Already Graduated High School
Yes, you read that correctly. In June, 16-year-old Liu finished her high school career. At the summit, Liu explained that since her training schedule and traditional school hours often butted heads, she ended up taking online courses to get her degree.
Looking to the Winter Games, Liu said, "now that [school's] over with, I'm a lot less stressed out. So it's a lot easier to focus on training."