Ashley Wagner finished seventh following her free skate performance on Thursday. Although she and her United States teammates won a bronze medal in the team competition, Wagner feels she was cheated. She blames the 2014 Sochi Olympic judges for unclear scoring standards.
A native of Heidelberg, Germany, Wagner began skating at the age of five. As her father was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, she and her family moved numerous times before settling in Alexandria, Virginia.
In 2002, Wagner began training with coach Shirley Hughes. The young woman displayed a unique talent and soon began competing on the junior circuit. She won her first international competition in 2006 at the age of 15.
Two years later, Ashley Wagner earned a bronze medal at the US Championships. Her continued success prompted her to move to Delaware, where she began training with coach Priscilla Hill. Wagner lived and trained with Hill for three years.
In 2011, Wagner moved to California to train with coach John Nicks and choreographer Phillip Mills. Although she had to work odd jobs to fund her training, the hard work paid off.
In January 2012, she won a gold medal at the US Championships. The following year, she won her second US Championship gold medal. Following her second win, Wagner and Nicks parted ways.
Ashley Wagner’s new coach, Rafael Arutyunyan, made several changes to her program. With the additional training and program revision, Wagner was chosen to represent the United States in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Although she was confident about her performance, Wagner was disappointed with her scores. As reported by Los Angeles Times, her programs appeared flawless. However, the judges did not agree.
Wagner was specifically disturbed, as competitors who faltered and fell during their programs received higher scores. She argued that the scoring was confusing to her and the fans:
“People don’t want to watch a sport where you see people fall down and somehow score above someone who goes clean. It is confusing and we need to make it clear… “
Wagner acknowledges the Russian skaters had the home advantage. She said “The crowd was very supportive of the Russians,” which likely boosted the competitors confidence. However, she said the judging standards need a serious overhaul:
“To be completely honest… People need to be held accountable… They need to get rid of the anonymous judging. There are many changes that need to come to this sport if we want a fan base… The sport in general needs to become more dependable.”
Ashley Wagner was disappointed with her 2014 Olympic scores. However, her fans and teammates certainly appreciated her hard work and determination.
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