Not long after she publicly lambasted the judging she received at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships late last week, Olympian Ashley Wagner took to Twitter to expand upon her feelings — reiterating that she is “allowed to be mad” but congratulating her fellow competitors.
“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,” she wrote on Saturday morning. “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!”
In a follow-up message, Wagner added: “Lastly Twitter, before you eat me alive, don’t forget there is a real person on the other end of your tweets.”
The 26-year-old Olympic bronze medalist, who competed with the American skating team at the 2014 Winter Olympics, was quick to publicly share her frustration with the scores for her Friday night performance at the championship.
She earned fourth place, behind relative unknown Bradie Tennell (first) and Mirai Nagasu (second) and Karen Chen (third) — all three of whom were then named to Team USA for the 2018 Games next month, in South Korea.
After she competed — but before the women’s Olympic skaters had been chosen — Wagner spoke out about what she felt was underscoring, including for the artistic part of her performance.
“I’m furious, I am absolutely furious,” she said. “I know when I go and I lay it down and I absolutely left one jump on the table, but for me to put out two programs that I did at this competition as solid as I skated and to get those scores, I am furious, and I think deservedly so. I am a performer and that second mark is just not there.”
“I am absolutely okay with them being strict on my rotations,” Wagner continued. “That’s what I think that U.S. Figure Skating should demand of their judges but it needs to be across the board. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s been that way at this event, so we’ll see how things pan out.”
As USA Today‘s Christine Brennan noted: “Bradie Tennell 69.71 component (artistic) score. Ashley Wagner 68.00. Tennell is an amazing jumper and talent, but not in Wagner’s league on components, not even close. Judges here clearly wanted to dump Wagner.”
In 2014, Wagner was controversially named to Team USA for the Sochi Games after a fourth-place finish at the U.S. championships that year — over Nagasu, who had come in third — due to her wider body of strong competitions leading up to the Olympics.
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Wagner said after her competition last week that, “at the end of the day, this is how I feel, and I feel like I need to stick up for myself, and I think that I delivered when I really needed to.”
“I think all these girls delivered when they needed to,” she said, “but I want to be on that Olympic team and I’m really mad that I’m in this position again.”
“The discussion between Karen and Ashley was pretty academic,” U.S. Figure Skating President Sam Auxier said of the selection decision, according to the Washington Post. “Karen was fourth last year [at the world championships]. Ashley was seventh. And then third versus fourth at this year’s U.S. championships. It was a very straightforward, clear criteria for selecting Karen as the third member of the team.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics will air live starting Feb. 8. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.