Some could have reserved their rooms in Sochi months ago, and some had to sweat it out until this morning, but U.S. Figure Skating announced the three women, three ice dance teams and two pairs teams it will send to next month’s Olympics in Russia.
President Patricia St. Peter read the names of the elite few who were are the envy of pretty much anyone who’s ever laced a pair of skates at a press conference in Boston Sunday morning.
U.S. champion Gracie Gold leads the ladies team, with 15-year-old national silver medalist Polina Edmunds and Ashley Wagner joining her.
Wagner was the biggest question surrounding the announcement after she placed fourth behind Mirai Nagasu in the free skate Saturday night, but St. Peter continued to be adamant that the choice was based on a larger body of results.
“We have selection guidelines put in place,” St. Peter said. “This competition (Nationals) is not the only event U.S. Figure Skating used in selecting the team. She’s (Wagner) got the top credentials of any of our athletes.”
Wagner was the two-time defending U.S. champion with three Grand Prix medals on the international level this autumn, while Nagasu had finished fourth in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics before an inconsistent run leading up to Sochi.
2010 silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who probably could have performed in Saturday’s free dance in roller blades and still made the team, will return to the Olympics with the hopes of overtaking Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for the gold medal.
Davis and White will bring newcomers Madison Chock and Evan Bates and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani.
U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir and silver medalists Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay will compose the two pairs teams, an event the U.S. hasn’t medaled in since 1988.
Nagasu will be the first ladies alternate, followed by Samantha Cesario and Courtney Hicks. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin are the pairs first alternate, and Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue are the ice dance.