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Alysa Liu announces retirement at 16: ‘Moving on with my life’

The Olympic figure skater competed at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Alysa Liu is hanging up her ice skates.

The 16-year-old Olympic figure skater — who competed in 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics —announced her retirement from the sport on Saturday, explaining in a heartfelt Instagram message that she felt it was time to "move on."

“I’m here to announce that I am retiring from skating,” the athlete began, alongside a slideshow of photos and videos from her career. “I started skating when I was 5 so that’s about 11 years on the ice and it’s been an insane 11 years.”

Liu noted that during those 11 years, “a lot of good and a lot of bad” moments happened, but added that she’s “made so many friends, and so, so, sooo many good memories” that she’ll have for the rest of her life.

“I honestly never thought I would’ve accomplished as much as I did,” she continued. “I’m so happy. I feel so satisfied with how my skating career has gone.” 

She added that now that she’s finally done with her goals in skating, “I’m going to be moving on with my life.” Liu explained that she will plans spend her newly-found free time with her family and friends.

Liu concluded her message by expressing that skating “has taught me a lot more about life than I anticipated. I’m really glad I skated.”

Fellow Olympians like gymnast Laurie Hernandez commented, So proud of you!!!”

Figure skater Mariah Bell, who also competed with Liu at the 2022 Winter Olympics, also commented, “Such an awesome career Alysa!! So fun to have shared the last couple years with you!” 

Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist, also wrote, “Congrats Alysa! Always cheering for you and excited for your next chapter.”

Mexican figure skater Andrea Montesinos, French figure skater Maé-Bérénice Méité, singer Elle King and more also left supportive and kind messages for Liu.

In a follow-up Instagram post, Liu shared more behind-the-scenes photos from her days with the figure skating team.

“IMMA MISS YOU ALL SM. loved doing the tour with you guys,” she captioned the post.

Liu is a 2022 World bronze medalist and a two-time U.S. national champion, winning in 2019 and 2020.

Going into the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Liu was the highest-ranked American by international score. She is the youngest figure skater in U.S. history to land a triple axel in an international competition.

Hailed as the “Simone Biles of figure skating, she told TODAY in January, “I have never heard of that before. That’s the first time. That’s like a really big honor because I love Simone Biles a lot!”

At the time, Liu said that she was “focusing more on myself rather than living up to other people’s expectations.”

“And whatever I do, hopefully it inspires some people. If it doesn’t, that’s also fine, but if it does, that’s really cool,” she added.

Bronze medallist US Alysa Liu celebrates during the medal ceremony after the women's free skating event at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, southern France, on March 25, 2022.Sylvain Thomas / AFP - Getty Images

Liu also spoke about the pressure and toll it can take when competing as such a high level. Biles withdrew from the Olympic team competition last summer for mental health reasons. The skater said that she makes sure to take care of her mental health by talking to a mental coach and therapist.

"We just talk about the stuff I’m going through and how I can get better,” she explained. “I think it’s really important to have somebody that you can rely on to talk about stuff. It’s honestly really helpful and mental health is really important, especially for athletes, because we undergo a lot of pressure — and a lot of other people have such big expectations for us — and that sometimes wears at us, I guess. So it’s really important to have somebody to talk to.”