Her coach, John Nicks, will decide whether to go forward after evaluating Wagner in Wednesday’s final practice.
In men’s figure skating, the once awe-inspiring quadruple jump is now expected of all serious medal contenders, although American Evan Lysacek won gold at the 2010 Olympics without one (though not without controversy).
The scoring system that rewards the greater degree of difficulty all but demands it, notes Max Aaron, 21, who landed two quads in his “West Side Story”-themed free skate to clinch his surprise U.S. national title in January.
“I’m a math guy, and I crunch numbers and figure out all the statistics,” said Aaron, a converted junior hockey player. “You really can’t make up the numbers in the competition aspect; you have to make it up in the air. That’s why two quads in the long program are key.”
The men’s competition figures to be a showcase for practitioners of the quad.
The favorite among them is Canada’s Patrick Chan, the two-time defending world champion, who looked supremely in command during practice Monday, landing a quad toe-triple Axel combination. Chan attributed his resurgent form to recently relocating his training base from Colorado Springs to Detroit, which he implied boasts a tighter knit, more supportive corps of elite skaters.
Fellow Canadian Kevin Reynolds also could medal; he recently landed three quads in his free skate to win the Four Continents title.
All will likely face stiff competition from Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi and Yuzuru Hanyu. Spain’s Javier Fernandez might be the most ambitious of them all, landing four quads in his two programs to win the European title in January.
“I don’t think it has ever been this abundant,” Chan said.