U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner expressed no regrets Wednesday for her “furious” reaction to national championship judges who dashed her hopes at a second chance to win Olympic gold.
“What you see is what you get with me, and I pride myself on being honest and open,” the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist said on TODAY in her first interview since missing a spot on U.S. team heading to the South Korea Games.
Wagner openly expressed her unhappiness over placing fourth at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships last week. She told reporters after the competition that she was angry over the low scores she received.
"I'm absolutely furious,” she told reporters last Friday. “I absolutely left one jump on the table, but 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, and I think deservedly so."
In her exclusive sitdown with TODAY Wednesday, the 26-year-old skater said she’s had some time to process what happened and she still feels “really proud” of her performances, but would not take back anything she said about her reaction.
“I found out that my Olympic dreams had come to an end and I think that I was just heartbroken. Devastated,” she said. “I had worked 22 years for that moment and I had put out something that I felt so proud of.”
She said seeing her scores go up “was confusing to me.”
“And in that moment, when I was feeling the end of that Olympic dream, it was just heartbreaking,” she added.
Wagner said she feels that the three women who have since been named to Team USA — Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen — absolutely deserved their spots.
“At the end of the day, based on the selection criteria, they absolutely made the right call with this team,” she said.
Asked if she felt the judges were harder on her than the other contenders, Wagner pointed out that her scores in her second competition last week were lower than ones she had earned earlier in the season when she had been skating with injuries.
“I ended up where I ended up,” she said.
“I have a lot of experience in this sport, and I know what I consistently skate like and where I usually fall. I’m allowed to question things, but question things only in relations to myself,” she added.
“I think that these girls earned their spots and I am so excited to take a step back.”
Wagner, who will be an alternate on the U.S. Olympic team, said she doesn’t want to shed any doubt on the ability of the women heading to South Korea.
She nabbed a spot on the 2014 team to Sochi even though she placed fourth at the U.S. championships. Judges decided to seat her on the Olympic team based on her body of work at the time.
“I’ve been in the position where people have tried to take away my legitimacy for being on a team and I would never want to do that to another athlete, so I think these three girls going into the Olympics, Team USA has a great team going,” she said.