In Huge Snub, No. 3 Skater Left Off US Olympic Team
Mirai Nagasu bumped for Ashley Wagner, who finished 4th
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2014 11:01 AM CST
Mirai Nagasu becomes emotional at mid-ice prior to her performance during the skating spectacular after the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(Newser) – In an unprecedented snub, US Figure Skating has left the third place finisher at Saturday's US Figure Skating Championships off its Olympic roster—in favor of a fourth-place finisher who described her own performance as "embarrassing." Why? Because that fourth-place finisher was Ashley Wagner, winner of the 2012 and 2013 national championships, and, coincidentally enough, one of the athletes NBC has been most heavily promoting ahead of the Sochi games, the New York Times reports. Indeed, Philip Hersh at the LA Times writes that there "was little doubt" she'd get the nod yesterday, despite a "dismal" free skate.

Wagner fell twice in that free skate, and neither her short nor long programs contained a triple-triple combination, the minimum required to medal in Sochi. She was selected over Mirai Nagasu, the only skater with what Hersh calls an "essentially clean" free skate, and the only one with Olympic experience. Until now, the US has always taken its top championship finishers, except in cases of injury. But committee rules actually allow it to consider a skater's body of work, and Nagasu finished seventh at the past two championships. Wagner will join first-place finisher Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds on the US team; the Times sees Gold as a bronze contender in Sochi. Hersh notes no one named "Gold" has ever won an Olympic medal.

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jess
Jan 18, 2014 11:19 AM CST
Wagner utilized her connections, personality, and look to acquire as many endorsements as possible and I believe that is the only reason why she was chosen. Mira earned the spot, she performed under pressure and taking the top three from nationals is part of the magic and heartbreak of skating. If a skaters history of performance as a senior skater becomes the only factor then Tara (1998 Olympic gold at 15) and Sarah (2002 Olympic gold at 16) should not have gone and look how well they represented the USA. I say the top three go and Wagner needs to learn to skate under pressure due to her performance at Nationals in 2010 and 2014 she has proven she lacks the ability to do so and should not represent the USA. If Wagner had any ounce of class she would step aside for the girl who earned the spot and work on performing under pressure and try again next time. I’m incredibly disappointed in the lack of integrity shown by USFS in this decision – you can’t buy and Olympic spot… I guess you can now – Thanks Wagner.
Kate
Jan 14, 2014 1:45 PM CST
The real controversy here is that Nagasu is a lesbian and the US was afraid/embarrassed to send her to Sochi where gays are treated as street rats.
AlunPalmer
Jan 14, 2014 12:35 PM CST
I think it may have a lot to do with Wagner's sponsorship money. And no, I don't know which one is gay? Probably Putin, LOL!