Ashley Wagner gets last laugh and silver medal
The most memorable snapshot of the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships was that of Ashley Wagner on her backside laughing her butt off.
Wiping out at center ice during the biggest figure skating event of the year is usually a skater’s worst nightmare.
For Wagner the pratfall meant nothing because it happened after the music stopped. There are no deductions for jumping up and down in celebration- whether a skater stays on her feet or not. Wagner’s sassy, spirited short program put her in second place right behind team mate Gracie Gold.
It’s been a long 10 years since any US female skater has stood on a World or Olympic podium, and now the Americans had a the chance for not one, but two medals.
The stage was set for the long program with Gold and Wagner skating the last two performances of the evening. Russian 16 year old Evgenia Medvedeva was the leader in the clubhouse after a beautiful performance of pin point jumps and artistic mastery.
Gold has been on and off with the mental side of the game, and Saturday night the jitters got the best of her. Gold’s opening combination was a tentative triple lutz follow by a triple toe loop attempt that ended with two hands on the ice.
Later in the program Gold doubled a triple lutz. It was a costly bailout that kept her off the podium
Gold was particularly hard on herself after her 4th place finish.
“Obviously, I’m really embarrassed and ashamed of how I skated,” said Gold. “It was one of those really, really tragic skates where you just feel like you couldn’t do anything right. I’m really disappointed. And I feel really sorry for Boston and the United States because I feel like I let them down when they needed me most. I’m sorry to [my team] and everybody that supported me that I couldn’t deliver.”
Gold is only 20 years old. She has plenty of time and opportunity left to deliver. Boston and the rest of the United States won’t remember this if she wins gold in Pyeonchang two years from now.
Meanwhile the 24 year old Wagner has never looked better, and this is why.
Ashley Wagner skated every minute like she was having fun. Not once was there a tenseness to her movement, her jumps and her facial expressions. There was no need for anyone to feel nervous for Ashley Wagner.
Wagner exuded a special confidence that seemed to say, “I own this, now just sit back, relax, and watch me crush it.”
You never felt for one moment Ashley Wagner would make a mistake. She was that trained, that sure of herself, and that driven to win.
Wagner left town with a silver medal, two great performances, and one of the all time funniest moments in figure skating.
She fell on her back side when it didn’t matter, and it gave the skating world a much needed laugh.
The best snap shot of the week.