U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu apologized for a set of comments she made after her singles event that apparently came off the wrong way.
Nagasu credited herself, saying she “saved” the U.S. in the team event to win a bronze medal, while adding that she treated her free skate as an audition for Dancing With the Stars. Many were unimpressed with this conduct, viewing her as discrediting her teammates, making excuses for a 10th place finish, and showing a lack of focus in a major Olympic event.
On Saturday, a tearful Nagasu apologized for her remarks.
“I feel really, really awful about the things I said,” Nagasu told Adam Carlson of People on Saturday. “I feel bad that people think that I was throwing my teammates under the bus because I never wanted to come off that way.
“I had my dream Olympic skate [in the team event] and to me, I’ve been dreaming of that moment for such a long time, it made me feel like a superhero and superheroes save the day. And I wish I had said that we were all superheroes during the team event,” Nagasu added. “To watch Chris and Alexa [Knierim, pair skaters], I train with them, to see the way they competed, to see Bradie put out a great performance, and Nathan [Chen] and Adam [Rippon] and [ice dancers] Maia and Alex [Shibutani] — everyone did their part, and so I didn’t mean to say that I saved the team by myself. We were all heroes that day and I apologize, especially to my teammates, for how it came off.”
Nagasu said her Dancing reference was based on a trick suggested by a sports psychologist, who encouraged her to use a different motivator than she did in the team event.
“I used that as a distraction and I probably should have kept it to myself. … It didn’t come out the way I wanted it to,” Nagasu said.
The skater added that she also apologized to Canadian skater Gabrielle Daleman, who Nagasu singled out as another successful skater who did not have a good free skate.
“What people didn’t see is that I hugged her right before I made that comment because I really related to her and I was like, ‘You know, you’re an Olympic gold medalist regardless of how you skated today,'” Nagasu said. “I just truly related to her in that moment and we both had disappointing free skates, and I just shouldn’t have brought her into it to be honest.”
Nagasu was an early favorite in the Olympics on account of her nailing a triple axel during the team performance, but she threatened a lot of that goodwill with these comments. It’s good that she apologized.