After new champions were crowned in pairs and ice dance earlier today, Jan. 23 at the U.S. Championships, it was time for the ladies to take to the ice for their free skate. The short program was a rollercoaster ride and many did not know what to expect going into the free skate. The ladies did their best and in the end it was one exciting night of figure skating as the ladies fought for their spot on the podium.
Gracie Gold was in second going into the free skate after a popped lutz in the short and she came out ready to be a contender in the free skate. Gold opened with a triple lutz-triple toe combination and proceeded to complete five more triple jumps after that. It was one of the most fierce performances that we have seen from Gracie and it was enough to give her the win. Gold won her first U.S. title in 2014, but then surrendered it to Wagner last season. Tonight Gracie reclaimed her confidence and her title. “Obviously I feel way better going into the Boston World Championships now that I have won this and qualified for it,” Gold said according to U.S. Figure Skating. “I feel better than after the short program, opening with a single. I just need to keep my nose down and keep training so that when I get out there, I take all the BS out.”
Polina Edmunds settled for her second U.S. silver medal after giving a terrific performance. Edmunds was in first place after the short program and seemed to have a flawless free skate, but in the end it was not enough to fend off Gracie Gold. “I feel great. I did a clean program and I’m really happy that I put everything out and did exactly what I wanted to do in my head,” Polina said in the U.S. Figure Skating press release. “I’m just very happy with how I did overall.”
The last time Ashley Wagner took home the bronze at the U.S. Championships was in 2010, but tonight she will add another bronze to her collection. She skated aggressively nailing her opening triple flip-triple toe combination and hitting a triple loop-half loop-triple salchow later on in her program. Her only major error was popping her triple lutz at the end of her program. “The mistake caught me off guard,” Ashley said. “I was so excited for the program and then just didn’t think through the very end. So kids, it’s not over ‘till it’s over! I don’t want that lutz to overshadow this program. This program was by far my best one yet. It shows that I’m still building and that this is a two part game. I am a long program competitor and my strengths showed tonight.” Wagner came into the free skate in fourth place and made her way onto the podium and though not yet official, very likely the world team. It may not have been the best skate of her life, but it was certainly far from the worst and enough to keep her in the mix this season.
After battling boot problems following her short program, Mirai Nagasu skated a strong free skate and snatched up the pewter medal. Nagasu has had a lot of ups and downs in her career and she came in tenth place last year so a fourth place finish, though not ideal, is still a great improvement for her.
It has been an incredible U.S. Championships thus far filled with excitement and heartbreak. The event will conclude tomorrow with the men’s free skate, so be sure to tune into NBC to watch as a new U.S. men’s champion is crowned.
Ladies final results:
1. Gracie Gold – 210.46 – WATCH NOW
2. Polina Edmunds – 207.51 – WATCH NOW
3. Ashley Wagner – 197.88 – WATCH NOW
4. Mirai Nagasu – 188.84 – WATCH NOW
5. Tyler Pierce – 188.50 – WATCH NOW
6. Bradie Tennell – 181.33 – WATCH NOW
7. Hannah Miller – 174.42 – WATCH NOW
8. Karen Chen – 168.75 – WATCH NOW
9. Courtney Hicks – 168.04 – WATCH NOW
10. Angela Wang – 163.17
11. Mariah Bell – 160.03 – WATCH NOW
12. Franchesca Chiera – 140.38 – WATCH NOW
13. Katie McBeath – 133.52
14. Ashley Cain – 131.89
15. Heidi Munger – 131.46
16. Maria Yang – 120.20
17. Alexie Mieskoski – 121.27
18. Christina Cleveland – 121.81
19. Carly Gold – 107.96
20. Avery Kurtz – 107.29
21. Alexis Gagnon – 105.56
22. Elena Pulkinen – 101.65