DETROIT – The top step of the awards podium at Little Caesars Arena is 1 foot, 10 inches high.
Alysa Liu, who is 4 feet, 7 inches tall, needed to get to that step after Friday’s free skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Liu stood in front of the podium, quickly sized up the chances of being able to jump from the ice onto the spot she had just earned and then let Bradie Tennell and Mariah Bell reach down to pull her up to the step between them.
It was the only extraordinary leap Liu did not attempt in the past two days.
Alysa Liu is helped onto the podium by silver and bronze medalists Bradie Tennell and Mariah Bell. AP Photo
She pulled off all the others, vaulting into the record books with a combination of insouciance, enthusiasm, ambition and stunning poise under pressure for one so young.
“She is the future of U.S. ladies’ skating,” said 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski. “And she will be the one to push the next generation forward.”
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