Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ashley Wagner gets spot on Olympic team — bumping skater who finished ahead of her

In what appears to be a controversial, last-ditch effort to force a particular America's Sweetheart on the country this winter, the U.S. Figure Skating Association on Sunday rescued its highest-ranked athlete, Ashley Wagner, by naming her to the Olympic team for Sochi while dropping Mirai Nagasu.

Nagasu was left off the women's figure skating team heading for Sochi — leapfrogged by Wagner —  despite finishing ahead of Wagner at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, reported USA TODAY Sports.

Wagner finished fourth on Saturday, behind Nagasu in third, after tumbling twice in her long program and appearing badly shaken throughout her free skate.

The USFSA defended its whimsical decision by saying that it made an 'objective analysis' before making the move.

That move set a fresh precedent for the USFSA, because the federation had never before bumped a skater after he or she placed high enough at nationals to qualify for the Winter Games. In the past, qualifying skaters from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships had only been bumped by the federation when injuries prevented top-tier competitors from performing at nationals.

This new judgement call begs the question — why even hold the competition?

Ashley Wagner

"We have selection guidelines that have been put in place," Federation president Pat St. Peter said. "This competition is not the only event that USFSA considers when selecting team. It's results and participation in events over the last year plus. She's got the top credentials of any of our female athletes."

"I'm at a loss for words right now," said Wagner, who was ranked No. 2 in the world by before her meltdown. "It just wasn't my night last night. I'm happy federation was able to see beyond one bad skate. I'm on cloud nine. Everybody's been so supportive these last few days."

Nagasu did not respond to text and voice messages left by USA TODAY Sports.

Mirai Nagasu

Nagasu was the only one of the top four women who didn't make a major error Saturday, and she said afterward that she hoped her Olympic experience would work in her favor. Only a 16 year-old in 2010, she finished fourth in Vancouver and, with her sparkling personality, bright smile and stunning natural talent, appeared poised to be the next big U.S. star.

"The only 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 night.

Officials here had made it clear, however, early in the competition that nobody was assured of a spot any longer, regardless of a finish. For some reason, they gave no guarantee even for the winners, which made little sense.

Gracie Gold, the new national champion, and Polina Edmunds, will fill out the women's team.

"The Olympics aren't just another competition, they're the ultimate dream," Gold said on Sunday.

It looks like Nagasu's dream was stolen away.

1 comment:

  1. It's nothing but a vile and vicious slap in the face to the very core of sportsmanship....I noticed throughout Wags skate that the commentators were all but putting her on the plane for Sochi and when Mirai skated they were all over her periods...inconsistent...(and wags is consistent in that she hasn't won a free skate all season)...this is corruption blatantly shoved in our faces and if Patty St. Putrid thinks that we all don't know that no matter what Wags was on the team she seriously underestimates our collective intelligence....I detest the sight of wagner and she should just shut her 'on cloud nine' lipstick coated cover girl mouth....unless of course she has something of interest to wanted to earn a place...I didn't...give it to its rightful owner....Mirai....another reeking putrid ugly era of kwan looks to be brewing here....figure skating is just a bastard...not a true sport at all...!!!!!