Four years after taking bronze in Sochi for the team skate, Team USA's Ashley Wagner seemed like she'd be a shoo-in to represent the U.S. again in Pyeongchang. She was arguably the most recognizable figure skating face from the 2014 Games, she was a key piece of the USA's 2017 World Team Trophy bronze medal, and frankly, she had the marketability of an Olympian.
With all of that in mind, it came as a shock when Karen Chen, Mirai Nagasu and Bradie Tennell were tapped as the three skaters for Team USA, with Wagner serving as the first alternate.with judging in the U.S. Figure Skating National Championship that placed her in fourth, suggesting that the harsh scores weren't applied consistently.
Since then, Wagner has been a bit more tempered, and doesn't seem to hold ill will towards the competitors that were selected -- though she did admit to Yahoo! Sports' Liz Loza that it's "bittersweet" to be watching.
As an athlete, I'm allowed to be mad. As a senior competitor with over 10 years of experience, I'm allowed to question things. At the end of the day, I laid out my best and I'm going home proud! Congrats to the lovely ladies of the team, you've got me in your cheering squad now!— Ashley Wagner (@AshWagner2010) January 6, 2018
Wagner, of course,, so 2018 is a bit of a flipped script. Nagasu had taken bronze at the 2014 national championships, while Wagner had fallen twice and placed fourth. However, Wagner's struggles were apparently deemed a fluke, and she made it in over Nagasu. This would not be duplicated for the 2018 national championships. Tennell, Nagasu and Chen took gold, silver and bronze, respectively. With Wagner finishing just outside of the top three, it only made sense that she would be just off the team, despite her frustration.
If you asked Wagner, she would likely say that it wasthat kept her off of the figure skating team. The judges would likely say that she simply didn't skate well enough that day. Each Olympian brought something to these Games, and in the end, the national championship scores ruled all.
The ladies will try to recover from a tough start at the short program. With Nagasu in ninth, Chen in 10th and Tennell in 11th, they have work to do at the free skate. And Wagner will undoubtedly be cheering them on.
The final will be on Thursday, andfor quick recaps on the figure skating action of these Games.