Who is Ashley Wagner?
Ashley Wagner is a 2014 Olympian and owns three U.S. national titles: 2012, 2013 and 2015. Wagner won a bronze medal in Sochi with Team USA in the inaugural team event. She is known for her mental toughness on the ice, refreshing honesty and repeatedly shooting down the idea that she’s too old to continue competing.
Figure skating beginnings
Wagner was born on May 16, 1991 in Heidelberg, Germany into a military family. She moved 10 times during her childhood and started skating at age 5.
Major competitions/ medals
In 2010, Wagner placed third at U.S. Nationals and was not named to the Vancouver Olympic team (that year, the U.S. only earned two berths, which went to Mirai Nagasu and Rachael Flatt). In 2011, she felt to sixth at Nationals. She was saving money for college at the time, and instead, chose to use the money to move across the country with a new coach. She’d become the next year’s national champion or quit the sport.
Wagner won U.S. National titles in 2012, 2013, and 2015.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Wagner finished seventh individually in the ladies’ event. She came away with a bronze medal in the inaugural team event alongside U.S. teammates Gracie Gold, Jason Brown, Jeremy Abbott, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Wagner skated the short program.
In 2016, Wagner earned a silver medal at the Boston world championships, becoming the first U.S. woman to win a Worlds medal in 10 years.
At the next year’s world championships in Helsinki, Wagner finished seventh. Alongside teammates Karen Chen and Mariah Bell – who finished fourth and 12th, respectively, in their Worlds debuts – the trio earned three berths for the U.S. at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
Ashley Wagner describes her breakout moment from the 2008 World Championships, where she finished 16th. “It ended up going terribly for me, but I knew in some weird way this big of a stage was going to be something I could handle one day, I just wasn't there quite yet.”
Wagner is the first woman to win back-to-back national titles (in 2012 and 2013) and three overall titles (2015) since Michelle Kwan competed in her last national championships in 2005.
One of Wagner’s strengths is her storytelling. She describes that as classic figure skating: disguising an amazing athletic feat by making it beautiful and adding the elements of storytelling. The storylines presented in the music make programs easier for audiences to watch and make it easier for her to portray those stories on the ice. For example, in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, she used a medley from Moulin Rouge as her free skate music.
She'll reprise the music for the 2018 Olympic season.
“I have so many people that for so many parts of my career say that this has been given to me, I don’t deserve this,” Wagner said of her 2016 Worlds silver medal. “I have so many people who doubt why I’m still here. I have a World silver medal because of something I did, not because of something everyone else didn’t do. That is so sweet.”
“[Wagner] is so mentally tough and physically strong. To be on the ice with her and see how hard she’s working every day is something that I can learn from. It’s very motivating and very positive.” – Training partner Mariah Bell
Wagner competed in the 2014 Olympics where she finished seventh individually and won a bronze medal in the team event.
Outside the rink
Wagner describes her best friend and training mate, Adam Rippon, as her “soulmate.” Rippon is her “rock in this sport and in life,” Wagner says of the 2016 National champion.
Wagner has a “cat/dog” named Dexter. He is a hybrid cat of a bobcat and a domesticated short hair.