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Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu

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Mirai Nagasu Calls Her Olympic Free Skate An Audition For 'Dancing With The Stars'

After a disappointing 10th-place finish in women’s singles figure skating, Mirai Nagasu of the United States wasn’t afraid to admit that she hopes to use her Olympic experience as a springboard to other opportunities.

“I would like to be on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ because I want to be a star,” Nagasu told reporters after her event concluded on Friday in Gangneung, South Korea. “I made history here by landing the first triple axel for a U.S. lady, third at the Olympics, and that’s a big deal.”

Nagasu and her U.S. teammates captured the bronze medal in the team event during the first week of the Games. After her teammate Bradie Tennell finished fifth in the 1o-skater field in the women’s short program at the team event, Nagasu’s history-making execution of her triple axel helped her earn second place out of the five competitors in the women’s free skate.

Nagasu’s performance earned the U.S. team 9 of a possible 10 points in her event. She matched the ranking of the U.S. ice dancing team of Maia and Alex Shibutani, who placed second with their short dance and their free dance at the team event before earning a second bronze medal in the individual ice dancing competition.

It was a long road back to the Olympics for 24-year-old Nagasu, who finished fourth at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. In 2014, she finished third at the U.S. national championships but was left off the Olympic team in favor of fourth-place Ashley Wagner, who ultimately finished sixth in Sochi. This year, Nagasu finished second at nationals and earned her second Olympic team spot.

After her strong performance in the team event, Nagasu and the rest of the women had a nine-day layoff before the beginning of the women's singles event. To accommodate North American broadcast schedules, all skating competitions had morning start times in South Korea, which meant lots of training and not much opportunity to soak up the Olympic experience.

"We had to keep training and training and training," Nagasu said. "We're just exhausted. I've watched my roommates compete, and then I still have had to go to bed at 8 p.m. and to wake up at 4 a.m. It's not easy."

After finishing ninth in the short program, Nagasu knew that she wouldn't be able to make a significant move up the leaderboard when her triple axel failed to launch early in her free skate.

"I smiled in the middle of my program, which is very rare for me," she added during her press conference. "I thought of this as my audition for 'Dancing With the Stars.'"

Over its 25-season history, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ has frequently tapped both newly minted and legendary U.S. Olympians for its cast. After winning gold and silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, gymnast Laurie Hernandez was named the winner of season 23 of the ABC reality show just three months later. Swimmer Ryan Lochte, who was caught in a swirl of negative publicity after it was revealed that he exaggerated a story of being robbed at gunpoint in Rio, was eliminated seventh in that same season.

Hernandez’s gymnastics teammate Simone Biles, who won four golds and a bronze in Rio, finished fourth in Season 24, which began in March of 2017.

Immediately after the last Winter Olympics in 2014, gold medal-winning U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White competed against each other in Season 18 of the show. Davis won the competition, while White was eliminated seventh. ...

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Even before her individual event, Nagasu was dreaming of the dance floor, telling Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo Sports that she hopes to compete in the ballroom alongside her friend and teammate Adam Rippon, whose star power has been on full display in Pyeongchang.

“I hope I’ll be there with him,” Nagasu said. “I’ve never gotten the opportunity to compete against Adam, but I would love (it).”

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