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Gold wins US figure skating title

US Championships Figure Skating
BOSTON (AP) - Gracie Gold won her first U.S. figure skating title Saturday night and all but guaranteed herself a spot at the Olympics.

Still to be decided is who joins her in Sochi after two-time defending champ Ashley Wagner finished a distant fourth after a mistake-marred free skate.

Fifteen-year-old Polina Edmunds was second, and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu was third in a resurgent performance. U.S. Figure Skating officials will announce Sunday which three women go to the Winter Games, taking into account past performances.

They will have a lot to think about.

"I felt like lead," Wagner said. "I'm in shock that that's when I put out at nationals. I'm embarrassed that I get so much attention for the skater that I am and that's when I put out."

Gold wasn't perfect, but she didn't need to be after building a big lead in the short program. She finished with 211.69 points to beat Edmunds by more than 18.

Skating last, the 18-year-old Gold knew what she had accomplished before she even completed her program. After landing her last double axel, she pumped both fists.

"I knew that was it," she said.

Gold was second behind Wagner in 2013, and in the year since, she now connects with her music along with just landing the jumps.

Edmunds was competing at senior nationals for the first time after winning the junior title last year. She doesn't have the expression yet of the older skaters, yet her poise was far beyond her years.

She fell on a triple flip but landed two triple jumps after that for six total. After her marks were announced, she sweetly waved to the camera, her smile wide and her eyes wider.

"Tonight was the night we all needed to prove ourselves, and I think I did prove myself," she said.

Nagasu finished fourth at the Vancouver Games as a 16-year-old, but that bubbly confidence seemed long gone in recent years. A U.S. champion at age 14 in 2008, she finished seventh the last two years.

Nagasu wore a serious expression for most of her James Bond-inspired performance Saturday, avoiding any major mistakes. When she saw she was in second behind Edmunds, she leapt out of her chair and buried her face in her hands.

Not only was Wagner by far the most accomplished skater in the field, she was considered the Americans' best chance for a medal in the sport other than ice dance world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. She was fifth at worlds, helping the U.S. earn a third Olympic berth, and won the bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final.

But her program fell apart right at the start. She tumbled to the ice on the second jump of a triple-triple combination, and from that moment on, her normal liveliness had drained away from her skating. Wagner fell again on a triple loop and failed to cleanly land two other triple jumps.

When it was over, Wagner stared blankly into the stands as the fans voiced their support for all her past successes.

Waiting for her marks, Wagner's head hung in shock, then she turned to her coach and shook her hands in frustration as she described what had just happened.

Now she's at risk of just missing out on the Olympics for the second straight games. In 2010, she was third at nationals when the U.S. had only two spots.

Join the discussion

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sgdenning January 13 2014 at 11:38 AM

if you win first through third, you go, if you don't, you stay home!

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1 reply
Tommy sgdenning January 13 2014 at 12:43 PM

Not so true. It seems Fourth is going and Third is staying home. ... by committee.

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almasearch January 13 2014 at 10:29 AM

That's a shame about Miss Wagner. Obviously she's very talented, however, if she's going to crumble under the pressure of competition, then perhaps she really is NOT cut out for the Olympics? There will be much more competition there...

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2 replies
sabrudesill almasearch January 13 2014 at 10:56 AM

I have heard many figure skaters state that there's more pressure at Nationals than any other competition...even Olympics! Tara Lipinski faultered at Nationls but later won the Olympic Gold Medal.

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hattie54 almasearch January 13 2014 at 11:42 AM

Mirai should be going,not Ms Wagner who fell twice!!

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dutebug January 13 2014 at 10:35 AM

Ice skating is not like swimming where the top finishers automatically go to the Olympics. Even though it usually works out that the winners go, the Committee has to choose who they think has a better chance at winning a medal. Gymnastics is the same. This may not seem fair to the person not chosen but the whole selection method would have to change before the next Olympics.

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lida January 13 2014 at 11:24 AM

Right decision.

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adika3z January 13 2014 at 1:36 PM

oh nooo,
that is awful and sad,
americans people and foreigns people doesnt have to going to winter olympics 2014 in ussr russia,
what for,
not important and not worth it go there in ussr russia,
know better ussr russia is a very bad empire country,
yes forget it about ussr russia

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1 reply
Drink More Water adika3z January 14 2014 at 4:24 AM

Thank you, Yakov Smirnoff???????

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icecap1 January 13 2014 at 11:44 AM

I Loved Gracie- The new star in our skating HEAVEN !!!!! Thank you GOD for Frank Carroll!!!!! Mrs P

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howlter January 13 2014 at 11:50 AM

Never give up and never surrender .

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angvug January 13 2014 at 11:59 AM

Fair is fair. If you won your spot fair and square, they should not take it away from someone who did. I remember Michelle Kwan was about to displace Emily(?) Hughes but did not pan out when Michelle got injured and Michelle Kwan had a far, far better record than Ashley Wagner. Nagasu and Wagner, more or less, are about equal in achievements. Nagasu also placed 4th in the last Olympics, and from what I remember, she actually deserved the bronze, but for the sympathy for the Canadian whose mother died a few days(?) before the Olympics. Instead of making all these athletes go through the nationals, maybe the committee should just start making a list?

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kgemsandroses January 13 2014 at 12:15 PM

No matter what sport-- your there to compete -our daughter was an AAU swimmer for 9 yrs. You are against a stop watch. If you do well the clock say so- if not-- there is another day. Mistakes are made in every sport no matter what level. A committee should not be able to override a competition placements---WHY HAVE JUDGING AT ALL!!!!!!!

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aaprioritylock January 13 2014 at 12:53 PM

I love competitive ice skating, but it has always been biased I believe if you place in the top three, you should go to the nationals I watched the nationals and wagner, had a bad night and miral nagasu skated beautifully, she deserves to go.

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