Mirai began skating when she was five years old, on a rainy day in Southern California when her mother, Ikuko, decided to take her ice skating instead of heading to the links. Mirai reminisces, "That's when I knew I wanted to keep skating … bye-bye, golf!" She kept at it, compiling an impressive list of accomplishments as she honed her skill and artistry. In 2008, Mirai became the second youngest in history to win the U.S. senior ladies' figure skating title.
For Mirai, 2009 was an important year. Not only did she changed her coach to Frank Carroll, but she also transferred to California Connections Academy, which "allowed me to follow my extensive training schedule without the stress of missing so many school days." Mirai explained further, "The online learning system let me take ‘school’ with me all over the world, and I could choose when and where to do my schoolwork."
"I like Connections Academy because the online learning system lets me take ‘school’ with me all over the world, and I could choose when and where to do my schoolwork."
— Mirai Graduate of California Connections Academy U.S. Olympic Figure Skater
After representing the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics and placing fourth, she was disappointed to be excluded from the team in 2014. After this setback, Mirai even considered giving up skating, but ultimately decided to use it as motivation—and has bounced back as an even stronger competitor.
Mirai’s name means "future" in Japanese, and after her history-making triple axel — a jump with three and a half rotations, and the only one with a forward-facing takeoff — hers certainly looks bright! As the third woman to ever land the triple axel at the Olympics and the first American woman to do so, she’s sure to be remembered. Mirai acknowledge her accomplishment on Twitter, saying "Today was the best day ever…still on cloud nine."