SOCHI, Russia – Her debut Winter Olympics performance could have been better, Ashley Wagner suggested.
But sixth place in a deep ladies’ figure-skating field after the short program on Wednesday wasn’t a bad place to be.
“I’m set up well for the long program,” Wagner said at the Iceberg Skating Center, where the competition concludes Thursday. “I actually have a chance at the podium.”
A slight under-rotation at the end of her triple flip/triple-toe loop combination at the outset, which Wagner attributed to nerves, could have cost her.
But she skated cleanly after that.
Wagner, who is 22 and trains at the Aliso Viejo (Calif.) Ice Palace, won U.S. titles and was a top-five finisher at the World Championships 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.
Ahead of Wagner, who scored 65.21 points, are defending champion Yuna Kim of South Korea(74.92), Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova (74.64), Italy’s 2012 world champ Carolina Kostner (74.12), U.S. champ Gracie Gold (68.63) and Russia’s youngest-ever European champ Yulia Lipnitskaya (65.23).
“I have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain,” Wagner said.