Alysa Liu's remarkable rise: is 13 too young to be an elite athlete?

The Guardian - Feb 19, 09:00 GMT

The figure skater is barely into her teens and is already the US champion

The figure skater is barely into her teens and is already the US champion. But some believe the mental and physical strain of elite sport should wait

Alysa Liu covered her face and cried as the results were announced at the US ladies figure skating championship in Detroit, Michigan, last month. Her coach, Laura Lipetsky who has worked with her since she was five, hugged her.

Liu had just won the national title at the age of 13, making her the youngest athlete to have done so, and with two triple axels no less. The weeks since have been a media frenzy. She appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and profiles on her meteoric rise have been published across the world. But for all the attention Liu has received, she won’t be able to compete in Worlds. She’s too young. A 1997 International Skating Union rule requires athletes to be at least 15 by 1 July preceding the season to participate in senior-level international events.

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