Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are sharing their thoughts about fellow Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner, who spoke out last week after disappointing scores in the national championships kept her from a spot on Team USA at February’s Winter Games.
“We both really thought that she would be the U.S.’s biggest hope for a model or on the podium or at least a really good finish,” Lipinski said during a joint appearance with Weir on People Now Thursday.
Wagner competed at the 2014 Olympics in Russia, earning bronze in the team event.
“I think as the season progressed, her results started to drop and by the time you got to nationals and all these other skaters were skating lights out — you had Mirai Nagasu, who added the triple axel [jump], which will probably be the only triple axel we’ll see at the Olympic Games — it became a very hard decision for the judges to … put her on a team,” Lipinski continued.
Wager narrowly came in fourth at the figure skating national championships, which concluded earlier this week.
She blasted the judging she received after skating on Friday night, saying she was “absolutely furious” with what she felt was underscoring, particularly for the artistic part of her performance.
Those scores cost her a spot on the American team heading to South Korea next month.
While Lipinski (an Olympic gold medalist herself) said on People Now that “I do think [Wagner’s artistic] score was judged a bit low,” Weir noted that losing is just part of such competitions.
“The Olympics are the biggest deal that there is in figure skating and in any niche sport, so you really have to field a team that’s going to do well,” Weir said. “But somebody’s feelings are always going to get hurt, that’s what sports are all about. If the Patriots lose to somebody, the Patriots’ feelings are hurt. It’s the same thing.”
Appearing on Today this week, after missing out on the team, Wagner said she didn’t regret her reaction.
“I have a lot of experience in this sport and I know what I consistently skate like and where I usually fall,” she said. “I’m allowed to question things but question things only in relation to myself.”
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However, Wagner said she was in full support of the three women heading to the Games, where she will be first alternate.
“I think these girls earned their spots and I’m excited to take a step back and cheer on Team USA,” she said. “I’m so passionate about this sport. I’ve been in the position where people try to take away my legitimacy for being on a team, and I would never want to do that to another athlete.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics will air live starting Feb. 8. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.