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'Furious': Figure skater Ashley Wagner fails to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

By Emily Pacenti
Ashley Wagner performs during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/bb5798c8ae06336d3cbfaa23011b1bf6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Ashley Wagner performs during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- After a hard-fought nationals competition, U.S. Figure Skating named winner Bradie Tennell, runner-up Mirai Nagasu and bronze medalist Karen Chen to Team USA for the Winter Olympics.

The previous poster child for Team USA in ladies figure skating, Ashley Wagner, came in fourth place and did not make the Olympic team.

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It was a case of deja vu for Wagner, who also came in fourth at the 2014 nationals, while Nagasu came in third. Despite her fourth-place finish, Wagner was sent to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, over a devastated Nagasu. Many were upset at the decision then and feared the same would happen to this year's third-place finisher, Karen Chen, or even Nagasu again.

However, Team USA made it clear that the spot had to be earned. Wagner will be the team's first alternate.

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Wagner wasn't happy about her scores in Friday's competition in San Jose, Calif., telling reporters, "For me to put out two programs that I did at this competition as solid as I skated and to get those scores, I am furious."

She went on to criticize the judging of her presentation score: "I am performer and that second mark is just not there."

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Wagner came out ahead of Chen in the free skate, but was below her total score by two points. Wagner, known for her mature and rehearsed presentation, received only a 68-point presentation score on her free skate. Tennell is known for technical prowess, but a lackluster presentation. Despite this, her presentation score was 69.71, almost three full points over Wagner's.

Not only will Wagner miss out on the Olympic Games, but she was not named to the team for the World Championships team. She was assigned to Four Continents competition instead.

On Saturday morning, Wagner tweeted, "As an athlete, I'm allowed to be mad. As a senior competitor with over 10 years of experience, I'm allowed to question things. At the end of the day, I laid out my best and I'm going home proud! Congrats to the lovely ladies of the team, you've got me in your cheering squad now!"

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Tennell, the unexpected victor, will attend both Worlds and the Olympic Games alongside Chen and Nagasu.

"I can't believe it," Tennell said of her victory. "I can't put it into words. I think the sky's the limit for me."

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships continue Saturday at 8 p.m Eastern on NBC with the men's free-skate event. The Olympics start Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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