Ashley Wagner Speaks Out About Olympic Ice Skating Controversy
"I dropped to my knees and started crying," she said of making the team despite a horrible routine
The past weekend was an “emotional and physical roller coaster” for figure skater Ashley Wagner, who was named to the third spot on the Olympic team despite falling twice and placing fourth at the U.S. championships on Saturday night.
Mirai Nagasu, who won bronze at the competition and skated one of her best performances in years, was noticeably omitted from the three-woman team picked to compete at Sochi.
Hours after the decision was announced by U.S. skating officials, tears could be seen streaming down Nagasu’s face as she skated in the exhibition gala to a cheering crowd.
“I’m disappointed in the decision,” the skater, 20, said in a statement. “Though I may not agree with it, I have to respect the decision the federation made.”
In the end, that decision was based on Wagner’s impressive resume of wins at international competitions over the past few years, including top-five finishes at the last two world championships that helped earn the American team a spot for a third skater.
“Unfortunately, Saturday night just wasn’t my night,” Wagner, who won the national championship in 2012 and 2013, tells PEOPLE. “But luckily for me I had plenty of other nights in the past couple of years that convinced everybody that I was ready to be on that team.”
“I’m not a crier,” adds Wagner, 22, about the moment she’d made the team alongside skaters Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds. “But when I heard the news I dropped to my knees and started crying.”
Not surprisingly, a firestorm erupted on Twitter after the announcement that Nagasu, who placed fourth at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, hadn’t made the cut. The comments clearly got to Wagner, who has “officially decided to give up social media” until after she competes at Sochi.
“Twitter is a blessing and a curse at the same time,” she says. “It’s tough to filter out the good things that you hear and the awful things that people will write, so I’m going cold turkey.”