Ashley Wagner keeps the U.S. in team medal contention


Ashley Wagner of the United States competes in the Figure Skating Team Ladies Short Program during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Four weeks after a nerve-stricken performance at U.S. Championships, Ashley Wagner held her nerve, stayed upright and even sparkled in her short program in her Olympic debut Saturday’s team, doing more than enough to assure her U.S. of advancing to Sunday’s medal round.

Skating to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” Wagner, a West Potomac graduate, threw herself into her opening triple flip-triple toe combination, which has been a challenge much of the season, and acquitted herself well.

From there, she did a triple loop and lovely double axel, gaining confidence as the program went on. And she was rewarded with a standing ovation from her teammates, who looked on rink side.

The seventh of 10 women to compete, she earned 63.10 points, the highest mark to that point.

The U.S. was in third when Wagner took the ice, needing to finish among the top five after the women’s short to advance to Sunday’s medal round.

Wagner is followed by an imposing trio: Russia’s 15-year-old jumping phenom, Julia Lipnitskaia; 2010 Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan; and Italy’s Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion.

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U.S. hopes in team figure skating could rest on Ashley WagnerOnly rich countries win medals

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