Winter Games Athletes
Wagner came into the 2014 U.S. championships as the two-time defending champion in the ladies’ singles, but a disastrous free skate that featured two falls followed an uneven short program and kept her off the podium entirely. That fourth-place finish, however, didn’t wind up costing her a trip to Sochi. Wagner was picked to join Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds, the 1-2 finishers, on the U.S. Olympic team, getting selected ahead of bronze medalist and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu. It’s the first time the U.S. Figure Skating Association bumped a medalist who wasn’t injured, but Wagner’s body of work makes it tough to argue for her exclusion. She finished fifth at the 2013 worlds - the result that ensured the U.S. women a third spot at the Olympics - and fourth a year earlier, and has won three golds and six medals overall in the past two seasons in international events. Wagner does have a reputation of letting her nerves get the best of her, but it’s possible her troubles at the U.S. championships may ultimately help her in Sochi. The pressure will be lessened with Gold heading into the Olympics as the likeliest U.S. medal contender, and perhaps those diminished expectations will allow Wagner to skate her best.