- Figure Skating
Wagner, Gold headline U.S. Olympic figure skating team
Ashley Wagner is going to Sochi, and so are 14 other American figure skaters.
A U.S. Figure Skating “international committee” chose Wagner as one of three women for the Olympic Team on Sunday, about 13 hours after she finished fourth at the U.S. Championships.
The selection of Wagner was expected. The U.S. Championships are not an Olympic Trials such as swimming or track and field, where the Olympic Team is drawn straight from standings.
U.S. Figure Skating also takes into account an athlete’s recent history in major events and who will have the “best chance for success” at the Olympics.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Team USA figure skaters named for Sochi Olympics
Wagner was chosen over 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu for the third spot despite finishing one place behind Nagasu in Boston on Saturday.
Wagner will join U.S. champion Gracie Gold and silver medalist Polina Edmunds on the Olympic Team. The Olympic ice dance and pairs teams were also selected and did not deviate from Saturday’s results.
The men’s team, announced Sunday night, will consist of four-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, who skated to the title on Sunday at age 28. He will be joined by 19-year-old Jason Brown, a fast-rising teenager who landed eight triple jumps in his winning free skate to capture silver. Left off the two-man team is 2013 national champ Max Aaron, who finished third.
2012 U.S. pairs champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin were not named to the team. They finished third Saturday behind Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir as well as Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, who were named to the team.
“The rules are there for a reason,” Wagner said after the short program Thursday. “You could be the best skater all season, and it could just not be your two nights.”
Nagasu impressed at the U.S. Championships by taking third, coming off seventh-place finishes the two years before. Wagner won the U.S. title in 2012 and 2013 and has been the best U.S. skater in major events internationally the last two years.
“It’s embarrassing as a two-time national champion to put out a performance like that,” Wagner said after falling twice in Saturday’s free skate. “Luckily, I had a decent season that definitely helps my case.
“At the same time, I am here to get onto that podium, to really earn that spot,” she said after she was fourth in the short program Thursday. “I don’t want to ever feel like I took away a spot from someone.”
Nagasu placed fourth at the 2010 Olympics, led the 2010 World Championships after the short program but plunged to seventh overall and hasn’t been a major international threat since.
Wagner was the favorite to win the U.S. Championships coming in. She was third at the 2010 U.S. Championships, when the U.S. had two Olympic roster spots, and was not named to the Vancouver team.
This is the first time since 2006 that U.S. Figure Skating strayed from U.S. Championships results. In 2006, an injured Michelle Kwan did not compete at the U.S. Championships but was later placed on the Olympic Team after filing a medical waiver. Kwan later withdrew after suffering a groin injury in Torino.
Here’s what the U.S. Figure Skating Olympic selection procedures outline for how the team is picked:
Take into consideration the results and/or performance data from the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, 2013 Senior Grand Prix Final, 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, 2013 Grand Prix Series events, 2013 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, 2013 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, and 2013 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final to determine athletes who will have the most performance impact and the best chance for success at the 2014 Olympics Winter Games.
It has been the experience of U.S. Figure Skating that the athletes who have had success at the international and Olympic level are those who have demonstrated consistent performances as opposed to the athletes who have had only a single great performance. Therefore, by not having the selection process based solely on one event, U.S. Figure Skating can select the best athletes to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Wagner finished third at the 2013 Grand Prix Final, fifth at the 2013 World Championships, first and second in two 2013 Grand Prix series events and first at the 2013 U.S. Championships.
Nagasu finished third and eighth in two 2013 Grand Prix series events and seventh at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She was fourth at the 2010 Olympics, skating last.
“The thing I can brag about now is that I’m the only person with Olympic experience, so I know how hard it can get,” Nagasu said Saturday at a press conference. “I don’t know what my federation will do, but all I can say is I did what I had to today. I’ll have to respect any choice that they make.”
After the roster was announced, Nagasu reportedly considered filing an appeal of the decision to leave her off of the roster, but she issued a statement Sunday saying she accepted the U.S. Figure Skating International Committee’s nominations for the Olympic team.
“I’m disappointed in the decision," Nagasu said in the statement. "Though I may not agree with it, I have to respect the decision the federation made. And I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me and look forward to what comes next in my skating career.”
Here’s the final U.S. Olympic Figure Skating roster:
Madison Chock/Evan Bates
Meryl Davis/Charlie White
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani
Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir
Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay