Body of work Olympics criteria doesn’t fly with figure skating fans
Many figure skating fans have been scratching their heads since the U.S. nationals ended. The decision to boot Mirai Nagasu in favor of Ashley Wagner or Polina Edmunds is one that continues to baffle fans, especially because the USFSA claims that a figure skater’s body of work was taken into consideration.
While Ashley Wagner may have a sustainable “body of work” to merit her Olympic spot, the question arises as to why that same “body of work” criteria was not applied in favor of Mirai Nagasu, while Polina Edmunds was given a pass.
Polina Edmunds comes from the Junior ranks. She doesn’t have any senior level competition experience, other than nationals where she placed 2nd earlier this month.
Mirai Nagasu, earned a bronze medal during the Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup (Cup of Russia) in November and a bronze medal at U.S. Nationals this month. In addition to having Olympic experience, where she placed 4th at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic games, she has been able to perform well this season despite not having a coach. So why was she not given the same consideration? #MiraiEarnedIt
Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments was written by a fan this weekend.
On an NBCSports article this weekend, reader “Rohjo” commented:
The USFSA’s selection of women’s single figure skaters to go to the 2014 Olympics and the World Championships raises the issue of ‘money talks.’ We need honest analysis of the influence of sponsors and NBC on the USFSA’s selection, in this case, of who goes to the 2014 Olympics and World Championships.
We’re left to speculate what the loss of poster girls could cost sponsors and NBC. And what is the market value of Polina Edmunds speaking Russian in Sochi?
Frank Carroll, Mirai Nagasu’s former coach, is not only Gracie Gold’s coach, but a coach of Edmunds. At nationals, he said of Edmunds, ‘She’s the future.’ When Carroll the star maker speaks, the figure-skating world listens.
Carroll coached Nagasu to an Olympic fourth place in 2010. However, known for ‘tough love,’ he wasn’t a fit for Nagasu, who wound up performing erratically under him.
Nagasu is a lotus on ice, an independent thinker, and a refreshingly candid speaker. She has the grace of a diva and the courage of a lion. She had the courage to leave Carroll (so the story goes), and the courage to go to nationals without (gasp!) a coach–flaunting the conventions of U.S. figure skating. She had the courage to come back and win a bronze medal on her own. After leaving Carroll, she also won the bronze medal at the 2013 Rostelecom Cup. She has the mettle, and experience, of an Olympian.
Meanwhile, Ashley Wagner, who was ‘overwhelmed from the big lights and the big show’ at nationals, is relieved to go to the Olympics now that ‘the pressure is off’ by making the team. This statement doesn’t inspire confidence in her understanding of stage proportions.
Before accepting the committee of nine’s decision, and making a statement through the USFSA to that effect, Nagasu, a 20-year-old whose outside interest is art, called the USFSA to ask about its appeals process. She had no big players lobbying for her. President Patricia St. Peter is an attorney who touts her appellate court experience. If she got on the line, I can only imagine that conversation.
(It’s not without irony to note that St. Peter chaired the USFSA’s Ethics Committee for four years.)
Mirai Nagasu has earned every right for people to raise hell on her behalf.
‘Body of work’ in this case is double standard; e.g., the ‘body of work’ of Edmunds. As an appellate attorney and former chair of USFSA’s Ethics Committee, you [Patricia St. Peter] should have guided Mirai through appeals process after her inquiry. She had no one of consequence to lobby on her behalf.
Given the investment of sponsors and NBC in Wagner, and Frank Carroll’s statement at nationals on Edmunds, ‘She is the future,’ the USFSA’s selection looks tainted. It will not slip into a black hole of public memory, especially if Wagner bombs, again, at the Olympics, or if Edmunds, despite the market value of her speaking Russian in Sochi, fails untested expectations.
A Facebook page has been started, supporting Mirai Nagasu in light of the injustice she was subjected to when she was denied her rightfully earned spot on the Olympic team.