January 26, 2019 / 7:46 PM / 5 months ago

Figure skating: U.S. champion Liu ineligible for world titles at 13

(Reuters) - Alysa Liu became the youngest winner of the U.S. women’s figure skating championship, so young that she is not eligible for the upcoming world titles.

Jan 25, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Alysa Liu poses with her gold medal after winning the ladies figure skating championship during the 2019 Geico U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Liu, 13, collected the American championship in Detroit in brilliant fashion on Friday by landing eight triples in the free skate, including an unprecedented two Axels in one skate by an American female.

Liu, who had been in second place behind Bradie Tennell after Thursday’s short program, burst into tears when her free skate score was posted.

The 2019 worlds will be held in Japan in March but skaters must have turned 15 by July 1 of last year to be eligible for the senior competitions.

Liu will also miss the 2020 and 2021 editions unless the eligibility requirement is changed.

The Californian will not turn 15 until Aug. 8, 2020 but does not sound fussed about missing the world events.

“I’m not too worried about that part because I get more time to work on my jumps, skating skills, spins, and just trying to learn more,” she said.

Liu supplants Tara Lipinski as the youngest American champion.

Lipinski was 14 when she won the 1997 championship, a year before taking Olympic gold.

“Records are meant to be broken and I couldn’t be more excited that Alysa was the one to break it,” tweeted Lipinski, who was on site to watch Liu’s performance.

“What a talent! So well deserved. Twenty-two years ago I tried to push the technical envelope and now Alyssa has taken it to the next level. She is the future of U.S. ladies skating.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon

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