Ashley Wagner was controversially named to the United States women's Olympic team on Sunday despite her disappointing fourth-place finish at the U.S. Championships this weekend.
In previous years, the finishing order at the Nationals has generally been used to select the squad, with the only changes coming as a result of injury. Why is this year any different? According to U.S. figure skating chief Pat St. Peter defended the decision to select Wagner over Nagasu, who was one of the darlings of the Vancouver Games after skating part of her routine while suffering a bleeding nose but has struggled over the intervening years.
"We have selection guidelines that have been put in place," said St. Peter, insisting that Wagner's strong overall season had tipped her over the edge. "If you look at Ashley Wagner's record and performance she has the top credentials. It is an objective analysis."
I absolutely disagree with this decision. Mr. St. Peter says, " It is an objective analysis." Objective really connotes you take the exact scores of the competition and apply them. "Subjective", on the other hand, is what has happened. They feel Wagner has put in more time, and thus somehow deserves to be cut in line ahead of the one who truly earned it in the competition!
According to USA Today’s Christine Brennan, U.S. Figure Skating president Pat St. Peter believes Wagner’s overall record of performance was what pushed her ahead of Nagasu in the eyes of the selection committee.
This competition is not the only event that USFS considers in selecting the team. It's the results and participation in events over the course of the past year-plus. So if you look at Ashley Wagner's record and performance, she's got the top credentials of any of our female athletes.
As noted by Bleacher Report’s Lindsay Gibbs, Wagner is by far the most veteran skater on the team. Moreover, she has the most experience in international competitions.
I strongly disagree with Lindsay Gibbs! Who's the only one with Olympic experience from the top four skaters? MIRAI NAGASU!!
If USFS (United Stated Figure Skating) slection process is based on experiences along with the past year performance, I could easily say 15-year-old Polina Edmunds who had never competed on such a big stage should be the least qualified, both on international level as well as her resume. However, she skated beautifully and was placed 2nd which put her on the spot at the Sochi Olympic, well deserved!
The USFS Olympic selection procedure was left vague purposely to give wiggle room for someone like Wagner, 22, winner of the previous two national titles, if she did not make the top three at these championships!
Here is a link as well as part of the article from USA Today dated Jan. 12th:
Two people with knowledge of the selection process told USA TODAY Sports that Wagner will be on the Olympic team, "even if she's 10th."
NOW, PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING AND SEND MIRAI NAGASU TO SOCHI!