Third-place U.S. advances to medal round of Sochi’s team figure skating event

February 8, 2014 E-mail the writer
Ashley Wagner of the United States celebrates in the Ashley Wagner of the United States celebrates in the “kiss and cry” area during the Team Ladies Short Program at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, February 8, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Ashley Wagner’s fourth-place short program secured the United States a place in Sunday’s medal-round of figure skating’s inaugural team event at the Sochi Olympics Saturday.

The U.S. stood third among 10 countries vying for the podium in the new event after three of the four disciplines’ short programs had been contested: pairs, men’s and dance.

So it fell to Wagner, 22, a West Potomac graduate, to keep her team among the top five. Only the first highest-scoring countries advance to Sunday, when the men’s, dance and women’s free skates will decide the medals. (The pairs free skate was to be contested Saturday night).

Skating to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” Wagner held her nerve, stayed upright and even sparkled. She completed every element in her program, though was downgraded for under-rotating the second jump of her opening triple flip-triple toe combination, which has been a challenge much of the season. She finished fourth (63.10 points), collecting seven points for the U.S. to ensure the squad moves on.

The performance came four weeks after Wagner’s shaky performance at U.S. championships left some questioning whether she deserved a spot on the Olympic team.

“It was on my mind, especially with the media frenzy over the past couple of weeks, that I needed to prove to myself and everybody else that has even doubted my belonging here in the slightest,” Wagner said afterward. “I’m here. I’m here to compete. I’m here to be competitive. Get used to it.”

Earlier Saturday, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, reigning world dance champions, collected 10 points for their top-scored short program to vault the U.S. from a three-way tie for fifth to third.

Russia holds a commanding lead, with 37 points, entering Sunday, with 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia winning the women’s short (72.90 points). Canada is second (32 points), followed by the U.S. (27), Japan (24) and Italy (23).

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

 

Medals
Gold Silver Bronze Total
Russian Federation 13 11 9 33
United States of America 9 7 12 28
Norway 11 5 10 26
See complete medals table
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