What a huge week of skating at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, that wrapped up on Sunday, January 12. This year’s championships were a qualifier for the Olympic Games so the pressure was on these skaters in a big way.
There are two spots each for the mens and pair teams and three each for the ladies and ice dance for the Olympic Team. Typically those who place in the top two or three spots at the U.S. Championships get named to the team, but that is not always the case as we saw when the official announcement was released on Sunday, January 12.
U.S. Olympic Ladies Figure Skating Team
- Ashley Wagner
- Gracie Gold
- Polina Edmunds
Though Ashley Wagner came in fourth at the U.S. Championships, she was still named to the team as she has had a strong international season. There was some debate if she should be named to the team even though she did not make it to the top three spots. Yet if it was not for her and Gracie Gold’s performance at the 2013 Wold Championships, then there would only be two spots at these Olympic Games for the ladies instead of three, so these types of things, along with her international scores, is what the committee took into consideration while making the decision.
The bronze medalist at the U.S. Championships, Mirai Nagasu, who was hoping to make the team with her third place finish, is reported by NBC to already be in the process of making an appeal. Nagasu went to the 2010 Olympic Games and barely missed the podium and she did finish in third place at nationals, which is typically how they choose the Olympic Team. It will be a tough fight for Nagasu as the official announcement has already been released, but there is no doubt that the debate on who should actually be named to this team will continue.
U.S. Olympic Mens Figure Skating Team
- Jeremy Abbott
- Jason Brown
Jeremy Abbott won the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships today, so it is not surprising that he made the Olympic Team. What was a bit surprising was Jason Brown. This was Jason’s senior nationals debut, so he is still considered somewhat of a rookie. Yet Brown is the reigning junior silver world medalists, so though he does not have a lot of senior international experience, he has some junior international experience, along with a ton of supportive fans, which could really help him as he skates into his first Olympic Games.
U.S. Olympic Pais Figure Skating Team
- Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
- Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomy
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir won the gold medal at the U.S. Championships for the second year in a row, so it was not shocking to see them named to the Olympic Team, yet there was another heartbreak. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin were favorites going into the U.S. Championships. They struggled in their short and a bit in their long program, landing in fourth place. Their fourth place finish was not enough to make the Olympic Team, as the committee chose to go with the gold and silver medalists from the U.S. Championships. It’s got to be devastating for Denney and Coughlin, but so exciting for Felicia Zhang and Nathan Baratholomy, who were somewhat of the underdogs coming into this event and ended up capturing the silver medal.
U.S. Olympic Ice Dance Team
This was the only grouping with predictable results, as these three teams were the top three finishers at the U.S. Championships. It still had to be disappointing for Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, but at least it was not shocking for them.
It’s been a wild ride for some of these skaters as they have worked so hard for so many years, just to make this Olympic Team, while for others who have just recently come onto the scene, get to join these hard working veterans to achieve their dreams sooner than they expected. With only twenty five days until the Sochi Olympic Games, one thing is for sure, this new Olympic Figure Skating Team better get ready!