BOSTON — Gracie Gold, with a name made for an Olympian, looked like one at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Still to be decided is who joins her at the Sochi Games after two-time defending champ Ashley Wagner tumbled to the ice twice in her free skate to finish a distant fourth.
Gold won her first title in a runaway Saturday night, but there was plenty of intrigue behind her in the standings. Fifteen-year-old Polina Edmunds was second, and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu third in a resurgent performance.
U.S. Figure Skating officials will announce today which three women go to the Winter Games, taking into account past performances. They will have a lot to think about.
Gold is the only no-brainer.
She wasn’t perfect Saturday, but she didn’t need to be after building a big lead in the short program. She finished with 211.69 points to beat Edmunds by more than 18.
“The nerves are something I’ve battled with and have let get in my head, but tonight I was strangely calm,” she said.
Skating last, the 18-year-old Gold realized what she had accomplished before she even completed her program. After landing her last double axel, she pumped both fists.
“I knew that was it,” she said.
Gold was second behind Wagner in 2013, and with another year’s seasoning, she now connects with her music along with just nailing the jumps.
Edmunds was competing at senior nationals for the first time after winning the junior title last year. U.S. officials were trying to confirm that she was eligible for the Olympics under the governing body’s rules because she hadn’t competed at a sanctioned international senior event.
She doesn’t have the expression yet of the older skaters, but her poise was far beyond her years.
She fell on a triple flip yet landed two triple jumps after that for six total. Once her marks were announced, she sweetly waved to the camera, her smile wide and her eyes wider.
“There’s a lot of strong skaters here, but in the end we were the three, and I think that has something to say for itself,” she said.
Nagasu finished fourth at the Vancouver Games as a 16-year-old, but that bubbly confidence seemed long gone in recent years. A U.S. champion at age 14 in 2008, she was seventh the last two years.
Nagasu wore a serious expression for most of her James Bond-inspired performance Saturday, avoiding any major mistakes. When she saw she was in second behind Edmunds, she leapt out of her chair and buried her face in her hands.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.