Figure Skater Ashley Wagner's Olympic Call-Up Leads To Controversy
It is the controversy rocking U.S. figure skating just weeks before the winter Olympics.
Twenty-two-year-old Ashley Wagner fell twice and broke down into tears as she finished in fourth place at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston over the weekend. Her Olympic dreams looked shattered.
Now, there's shock and outrage because Wagner was named to the U.S. Olympic team anyway.
She beat out third place finisher Mirai Nagasu, who skated flawlessly and had seemingly earned the final spot on the team that will compete in Russia next month.
One internet blogger wrote, "It’s fixed, why is anyone even remotely surprised?"
Another wrote: "It gives the impression that something other than raw talent and objective measures of performance are trumped by politics and partiality."
Wagner has starred in TV ads leading up to the Olympics after she won the U.S. Women's Figure Skating Championship the past two years.
The U.S. Figure Skating Association says Wagner was chosen on merit, saying: "If you look at Ashley Wagner’s record and performance, she's got the top credentials of any of our female athletes." (Source: Patricia St. Peter, President, USFSA)
Twenty-year-old Mirai Nagasu was crying moments after she learned that Wagner had beaten her out for a spot on the Olympic team.
INSIDE EDITION spoke to former U.S. and World Champion figure skater Elaine Zayak, who's now a coach and witnessed the controversy.
Zayak said, "Actually, before the results came out, I did feel that Ashley was going to go no matter what."
Right after her horrible performance, Wagner tweeted: “I am so sorry. I let you all down.”
But just hours later, she was celebrating her Olympic dream after being picked as a member of the team. She said at a press conference, “I am on cloud nine and everyone has been so supportive over the last couple days. I am very grateful to be where I am right now."