Skating star, 16, to visit Portland

Posted April 08, 2010, at 5:40 p.m.

America’s latest skating pixie is taking a month off from training to hang with her idols and will soon be visiting Maine.

Fresh off a fourth-place finish in her first Olympic games, Mirai Nagasu, 16, will skate the remainder of the Smuckers Stars on Ice tour, which visits the Cumberland County Civic Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 13.

Joining her will be fellow Olympic medalists, dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and pairs skaters Qing Pang and Jian Tong, both of whom earned silvers in the Vancouver games. They have been added to a cast that includes veterans Sasha Cohen, Todd Eldredge, Michael Weiss and Yuka Sato.

Nagasu, the cast’s youngest member, said in a recent phone interview, “It’s a lot of fun to perform for the audience rather than the judges. I’m getting away from competition with some of my idols.”

On her first visit to Maine, the Arcadia, Calif., native skates her Olympic short program to “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the tour.

Nagasu is enjoying the vibe of Stars on Ice.

“I’m able to bond with a lot of skaters, with no rivalries,” she said. “I’m just here to have fun, and become close to other skaters.”

Nagasu, who turns 17 on April 16, has been skating since age 5, when her parents took her skating instead of golfing on a rainy day. She never left the rink.

Highlights on her career include a U.S. Junior Championship and second in the World Junior Championship in 2007, a U.S. Senior Championship in 2008 and a second in this year’s U.S. Senior Championships. She is the first woman since Joan Tozzer to win the junior and senior national titles in consecutive years.

She now trains with Coach Frank Carroll at the Toyota Ice Center in El Segundo, Calif., the same rink where reigning Olympic champion Evan Lysacek trains. As soon as the tour is over, it’s back to developing a new routine.

What did she learn from her first Olympics which she can carry over into the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia?

“I learned that I can do anything under a lot of pressure, in front of the whole world,” she said. “Hopefully, by then, the judges will know my name and what to expect of me, and I can deliver in Russia.”

Tickets for the Smuckers Stars on Ice tour are available at the Cumberland County Civic Center box office and all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com and can be charged by phone at 207-775-3458 or 800-745-3000.

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