Are you tired of waiting for “some thoughts” yet on the men and ladies? Because I am. Let’s see what I’ve got:
Ladies results, US Nationals 2013 (top 5): Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Agnes Zawadski, Courtney Hicks, Christina Gao
The debate (a real one for some fans): Was Gold “robbed”? And/or was Wagner held up by components?
To spice things up, here are write-ups on the topic by USA Today’s Christine Brennan and Chicago Tribune’s Phil Hersh.
As for me, I agree with the placement. Easy for me, right... I’m one of those who predicted pre-Nats that Wagner & Gold would go 1-2 (and was hedging her bets after the short program). But Gold made two gasp-worthy mistakes in the SP, so combine that with her understandably “1st year senior lady” (quoting Sandra Bezic there) artistic scores and you get what she got—ninth place. Wagner skated like a seasoned pro for the SP, skated clean, and came out on top. Different story for the free skate—Gold was a healthy, uninjured, “angry” (so we heard) girl on a mission for redemption; Wagner was a lady recovering from recent injury and illness (salmonella—ugh!!) determined to get through a long, long four minutes. Oh, and to pull off back-to-back titles a la Kwan. I wasn’t at all sure she’d gotten it done until the scores came in. (Neither was she, in case you couldn’t tell.) But she did. Some might argue that the judges “held her up” by inflating the always-subjective artistic scores, but even if they did... it’s probably happened a time or two to any well-regarded skater that’s hung around long enough to earn the benefit of the doubt. I can live with that. More importantly, I’m not convinced that was even the case. But let me take a closer look at the protocols before commenting further on that.
(By the way—raise your hand if you began to worry for Wagner as soon as she did that slight 2-ft thing on the triple salchow... the flaw that used to be her undoing at many an event!)
Is “Ash” in trouble? Difficulties with the FS at the GP Final, difficulties at Nats—are there more than simple ailments to blame? I’m not ready to declare that just yet... I DO think Wagner needs at least a good performance at Worlds (“good”= top 6) to get her groove back. But in any case, I’d rather be Wagner than Gold over the next 12 months.
You may have heard/read/been beaten over the head with the news that Gold has now proven herself to be
Next Big Skating Thing? NBC clearly has put all its money on her, and for the
sport’s sake (in America,
at least) it would be nice if it worked out that way. But the post-Kwan shadow
is a mighty long one, and the last young woman in the U.S.
to be anointed “Next” was a certain phenom with the last name of Meissner. Then
it was Nagasu. Then Flatt. All in about 3-4 years’ time.
Sure, Gold may “love attention” as Bezic and Hamilton mentioned last Saturday night... but I, for one, hope the skating media does her a huge favor this coming year and BACKS. OFF. ALREADY.
Anyway, my bigger debate than all that is this: Agnes Zawadzki in 3rd place rather than Gao?
Does anyone else have a problem with this? Not just because Gao got that bummer 5th place AGAIN, but because she they believe she deserved 3rd?
OK, so admittedly I say this without studying their protocols either. Let me know what you know, and I’ll see what I can find.
Ran out of time for the Men’s mini-analysis, will do that this weekend!