The U.S. Figure Skating Championships are over, and after a selection closed-door meeting on Sunday the 12th, the list of skaters being sent to the Olympics in Sochi is now finalized. Some of the selections weren’t a surprise. For example, 18 year old Gracie Gold was a favorite for a spot going into the championships, and she won in a landslide. In terms of the men’s team, Jeremy Abbot and Jason Brown clinched spots, while the defending U.S. Champion, Max Aaron placed third and didn’t qualify for Sochi.
The real controversy developed when the committee was deciding who would join Gracie Gold in Sochi. Going into the event, the obvious choice seemed to be Ashley Wagner, who has been a reliable skater for a few years now, and is actually the one who clinched the third Olympic spot for the U.S. team. However, Wagner’s performance at the Championships was disastrous, and it seemed like a guarantee she would not be given a spot. However, the committee decided to look past the one bad performance, and give Wagner the spot based on her past performances. The third spot went to 15-year old Paulina Edwards, leaving another strong contender and one with previous Olympic experience, Mirai Nagasu, without a spot.
As far as the figure skating pair and the ice dancing team were concerned, there were no such surprises. Figure skating pair Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir and last Olympics’ silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White will all be going to Sochi as well. To get you ready for the Olympic action, we’ve rounded up some of the best performances that have been given by the U.S. team members, in most cases, the 2014 Championship performances did the trick.
This is Gold’s routine from the 2014 Championships, with which she clinched her spot in Sochi. Her last name has certainly inspired plenty of cheesy Olympic jokes, but if she skates her best in Sochi, many seem to think she may have a very real shot at the Gold.
Edmunds may only be 15, but she is spunky and her level of difficulty is high. Since she has only competed internationally at the Junior level thus far, it will be interesting to see if she can handle the Olympic pressure. Her mother grew up in Russia, so maybe that will be some sort of good luck charm? If she needs it that is.
This is Wagner’s Gala Performance after she won 5th in the 2013 World Championships, clinching the US that 3rd Olympic spot. Despite her blunders at the Championships in Boston, Wagner has been the most decorated U.S. figure skater for the past few years, and the committee felt that was important enough to give her a spot. Hopefully she puts the falls behind her when she gets to Sochi.
Abbott was on the 2010 Olympic team in Vancouver, however, his performance was not stellar. Now that Evan Lysacek, the Vancouver Gold medalist, is unable to skate in Sochi Abbott has the chance to step up for U.S. Men’s Figure Skating. At 28 years old, this will more than likely be his last Olympics, so hopefully he can deliver an amazing performance just like he did at the 2014 Championships.
Like some of the female skaters, Brown is also just your typical teenage figure skating star. Brown took second at the Championships, and with his slightly edgy routine and ponytail, is basically a rockstar. His ability to connect with and captivate the audience is definitely his strong point.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
Castelli and Shnapir have some ties to Boston, so they were extra pleased that they gave a dynamite performance in Boston at the Championships. The pair set the new record at the U.S. Championships, moments after the record was set by another pair at the competition.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Davis and White won the silver medal in Vancouver, and surely will be going for the gold in Sochi. The 201o winners were Canadian pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who are pretty close to flawless. The two pairs train together, so hopefully the U.S. team will be able to edge out the Canadians this go-round. Above is one of their routines from Vancouver.
The figure skating events will begin on February 8th, the day before the Opening Ceremonies, with the Team events and continue through the 22nd. If you don’t have a TV but still want to watch the Games on your computer, check this post out for some info about Streaming.
Will you be watching the U.S. Figure Skating Team in Sochi?
Featured Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images