- Figure Skating
Wagner fears for future of figure skating
SOCHI, Russia – Ashley Wagner was thrilled with her performance, but not with what the judges made of it Thursday night as ladies figure skating wrapped up in the Winter Olympics at the Iceberg Skating Center.
She then fired a few salvos at that judging system, saying it will cost her sport future fans at the Winter Olympics.
“I feel gypped, I do,” Wagner said after her seventh-place finish. “But you know what? When you say that it always has such a negative, like, bitter, connotation. And I’m not bitter."
“No one can take away from me what I accomplished here,” she added, fighting back her emotions. “The scoring doesn’t reflect how I think I did but it’s a judgmental sport."
“It’s what they see and who am I to change their opinion? So I’m coming home proud of what I did.”
Wagner had been sixth after Wednesday’s short program, and dropped one spot despite one of the evening’s more flawless free skates.
“I was ecstatic about that performance,” said Wagner, who had overhauled her program after a fourth-place finish at last month’s U.S. Nationals. “There was a lot of pressure on that program to skate it clean and deliver and I really did that and I’m going home very happy.”
Russian 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova, performing in front of an adoring crowd, leapfrogged 2010 gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea and nosed her out for the gold medal.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner took the bronze medal; with Gracie Gold, the 18-year-old who had supplanted Wagner as U.S. champion last month, finishing fourth.
Wagner scored 127.99, seventh best of the night, to finish with a final 193.20. Mao Asada of Japan passed her for sixth with the third best long program.
“I wasn’t really focused on the scores here,” Wagner said. “They’ve been a bit all over the place. Really, this performance was for myself and not so much focusing on what the judges say.”
She added that she was surprised with the short and long program scores but, she said, “I came into this knowing pretty well that that was how it was going to go. ‘Welcome to Russia.’"
“But I’m coming home with three clean programs from this event,” she added, referring to her effort in the team event. “I’m starting to lay the groundwork for myself to be one of the top competitors over the next four years.”
As for Sotnikova’s victory, even though Wagner had not seen her skate, she said, “I think we are all very surprised.”
To keep fans and gain new ones, figure skating needs more dependable judging than what was exhibited Thursday, she added. The anonymous judging system, she added, should be done away with and “people need to be held accountable if they want people to believe in it.”
She said it was “confusing and we need to make it clear for people.”
The U.S. went back-to-back Olympics without a medal in ladies figure skating for the first time since 1936 and 1948 (there were no Winter Games in between because of World War II).
Wagner, 22, trains at the Aliso Viejo (Calif.) Ice Palace. The 2012 and 2013 U.S. champ was a top-five finisher at Worlds in 2012 and 2013. But she was fourth at last month’s U.S. Championships in Boston and was selected to the Olympic team based on overall results.
“I think this was the best I’ve skated the entire season and I’m building going into Worlds,” she said.
Embedded video_content_type: Ashley Wagner 'shines on' in sixth place after short program
Women's 30km Free Mass Start
Men's 5000m Relay Finals
Ladies Short Program