Where EAST meets the Northwest
SPOT SECURED. Mirai Nagasu is seen performing during the womenís free skate
event at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California. The U.S.
champ 10 years ago and a 2010 Olympian, Nagasu capped a sensationally sweet
comeback with a flowing performance at the national championships to finish
second, assuring a spot in next monthís Olympics ó a berth she was denied in
2014 by the selection committee. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
From The Asian Reporter, V28, #2 (January 15, 2018), page 8.
Nagasu, Chen, Tennell earn U.S. Olympic figure skating spots
By Barry Wilner
AP Sports Writer
SAN JOSE, Calif. ó Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen, and Bradie Tennell, the top
three finishers at the national championships, have been selected to the U.S.
team for the PyeongChang Olympics.
Three-time U.S. champ Ashley Wagner, who complained vigorously about the
marks after her free skate, was not included. Four years ago, Wagner also
finished fourth but was placed on the team ahead of Nagasu. Wagner wound up with
a bronze medal in the team event.
"I really took time to remodel myself, because I didnít want to feel that
regret," Nagasu said during the announcement on NBCís "Today" show. "This has
been about my journey and my goal to get here. To accomplish it last night has
been a dream come true."
Chen, 18, the 2017 U.S. winner, and 19-year-old Tennell, made their first
Olympics. Nagasu, now 24, was fourth at the 2010 Games.
Alternates are Wagner (first alternate), Mariah Bell (second alternate), and
Angela Wang (third alternate). Only Wagner has been to an Olympics among those
U.S. Figure Skating uses a committee to decide the squad, and it went with
the results of the national championships. Past performances and a variety of
other data are included in the decision.
The remainder of the team includes three men, three ice dance couples, and
Rising star Tennellís near-perfect free skate earned her first national
crown. Tennell, a long shot entering the season, was spotless in the short
program, then as the final skater in the long program, she didnít miss a trick
under tremendous pressure. Her top competitors, Nagasu and Chen, already had put
down superb routines.
"I just had to keep calm and focus on what I knew I could do," Tennell said.
"Thereís the initial butterflies, but I kind of start to lose myself and keep
"I donít think itís sunk in quite yet. Iím still kind of shocked. Itís
indescribable to me."
Nagasu, U.S. champ 10 years ago and a 2010 Olympian, capped a sensationally
sweet comeback with a flowing performance to finish second, assuring a spot in
next monthís Olympics ó a berth she was denied in 2014 by the selection
committee. That position for Sochi was given to Wagner, who had a better overall
Chen, the defending champion, was third.
After overpowering the entry and two-footing the triple axel that no other
American woman tries, Nagasu hit six triple jumps, including a loop in the final
seconds of a stirring program. She was so moved by her performance that she
broke out in tears and covered her face, trying to gain control of the emotions
that often had betrayed her in critical moments.
She was still crying in, appropriately, the kiss and cry area when the marks
showed Nagasu she had shattered her personal best by nearly 20 points with a
Chenís big season last year had not translated into achievement this
campaign. She put those struggles to an icy death with a superb showing that had
one flaw toward the end. She, too, was overcome by tears for a 198.59 score.
Tennell made it a trio of tears with her career best of 219.51. Tennell
announced herself as an Olympic team threat with a third place at Skate America.
Hardly ice shattering, but then she ratcheted up everything for nationals.
Wagner had the crowd going for most of her energetic routine, but a flawed
lutz as her final jump was costly. She responded to the fans with a deep bow
when she finished, yet was shaking her head "no" when her marks were posted.
Hours later, after she verbally campaigned to be placed on the Olympic team
again, Wagner was left off.
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