Sochi 2014 gamesby Katherine Ruch

As I write this, I am a little glad that I didn’t go to U.S. Nationals! Don’t get me wrong. Last week I was so jealous of anyone posting status updates and pictures from Boston. If you were one of the people who went, I halfway am glad that I could live vicariously through you… and I halfway hated you at the same time! At this current moment I’m sick (physically), so I also know that the only thing worse than being ill is being sick but on a trip of some kind.

I will write lots more about Nationals soon because I, like most of you, had my eyes glued to either the computer screen watching Ice Network or the television when the skating was on. I literally watched every minute I could. For as long as I can remember, I have found skating absolutely captivating. I find myself cheering along with all the fans, booing at appropriate times, etc. I really act like I am actually in the arena, it’s a little embarrassing so try not to judge me!

Once the medals were handed out, the waiting process began to see who made the US team heading to Sochi for the February games. For the most part it seemed pretty standard, Dance-1st, 2nd, 3rd, Pairs- 1st and 2nd, Mens-1st and 2nd. In regards to the Ladies event, the top three medalists are not all going. I was pretty shocked and I was not alone in that regard!

The only person I knew was going for sure would be was Gracie Gold. I’m not sure I expected 15 year old Polina Edmunds to skate so well, and Mirai Nagasu stunned me considering she has had a couple disappointing seasons since the Olympics in 2010. Ashley Wagner, who has skated well this season and has been National Champion twice in recent years ended up 4th after a disappointing long program. Her tears following the performance seemed to say it all. She was probably worried she would be the “almost girl” once more.

I figured the team would be made up of Gold, Nagasu and Wagner. Although Ashley couldn’t seem to deliver¬†on Saturday¬†night, she has skated well internationally this year and she is partially responsible for the fact that the US women had 3 spots to fill. I figured they wouldn’t let Polina go. I thought things such as: “she is only 15, she should have probably two more chances considering the shelf life of a skater” or “this is her first year at the Senior level.”

Instead, Mirai is the one who got bumped. I guess as far as the USFS is concerned, one good Nationals and having previous Olympic experience doesn’t measure up to having as good of component scores as Polina or having a dismal couple of years in terms of competition standings. All I can say is I feel bad for Mirai.

As soon as I saw the placements I knew there was no way this could end well. Someone was going to end up heart broken. Since I’m sick, I don’t have anything better to do than read a plethora of Facebook statuses about this topic. As much as I feel for Mirai, I know that the USFSA is likely to hold fast to their decision. I feel for Ashley too. Hardly anyone knows what it feels like to make the Olympic team and while Ashley is elated, another part of her knows that some people aren’t in support of her. How hard that must be!

Whether or not I always agree with the USFSA, I hope to always remember that the officials are people, and so are the athletes. No matter how you slice it, nothing is ever perfect and you can’t make everyone happy. I know I for one can’t wait to watch the Olympics here in a few weeks and hope that we can all do our best to support the athletes. Go USA!!!

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