Figure skater ‘furious’ after placing fourth

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Three-time national champion and 2016 world silver medalist Ashley Wagner called out judges at the U.S. figure skating championships Friday night after she received scores in the free skate which put her chances of returning to the Olympics in jeopardy.

Wagner scored a 130.85 in her strongest event for 196.19, with Karen Chen beating her out for third with a 198.59, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.

“I’m furious, I am absolutely furious,” Wagner 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 OK with them being strict on my rotations. 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.”

In order to make the 2018 Winter Olympic team, Wagner had to either win a spot in the top three or be placed on the team by U.S. Figure Skating’s international committee. However, it now looks as though the most decorated U.S. women’s figure skater over the past six years – and the most heavily promoted U.S. female skater of this Olympic season – will not be going to South Korea next month.

The 26-year-old missed the podium, placing fourth. She then unleashed public criticism against the committee.

“I honestly think 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,” Wagner said. “I think all these girls delivered when they needed to, but I want to be on that Olympic team and I’m really mad that I’m in this position again.”

Asked whether she believes she should be selected to the Olympic team, Wagner emphatically replied, “Yes, I do.”

Wagner hit all of her early jumps but made a couple of mistakes in the second half of her “La La Land” routine.

“Even though I’m mad about my score, that program was such an experience for me,” Wagner said. “I skated with heart. I took a program that’s a month old and I delivered something that was solid and something I’m proud of. It definitely could use a little bit more leg work but that’s because it’s a month old, and I made the right call and I have no doubts in my mind that ‘La La Land’ was the program that was going to get me where I want to be.”

When asked whether the top three finishers at nationals should automatically make the Olympic team, newly crowned champion Bradie Tennell answered, “I trust the governing body to make those decisions.”

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