Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Sochi Olympics: U.S. figure skaters intent on seizing the moment
First Published Jan 07 2014 11:06 am • Last Updated Jan 07 2014 11:19 pm

Boston • Go out and get it.

That’s the mindset and mantra for competitors at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships this week. Their objectives: grabbing a spot on the Sochi Olympic team.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

There are three slots available in women’s and ice dance, two in men’s and in pairs. So let the free-for-all begin.

"In 2010, I was 17 or 18 and thought, ‘Yeah, the Olympics, that might happen,’" two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner said. "Now, I’m set on making it reality. I’ve taken all the thoughtful steps to get there.

"My approach for nationals is that, while no doubt this is a huge event, if you make it a huge event in your mind, it becomes unbearable. So just make it another day at the rink and it’s cool. And go for it."

Wagner is, by far, the best American bet for an individual medal in Sochi. By finishing fifth at the worlds last year and Gracie Gold getting sixth, they secured the maximum three spots for the Olympics.

The beneficiaries of that could well be Gold and Agnes Zawadzki, the silver and bronze medalists at the 2013 nationals. They, too, are in attack mode.

"It’s a little nerve-racking, but mostly it’s exciting," the 18-year-old Gold says of her first time through the Olympic qualifying cauldron. "It’s big. I’m on a mission.

"In 2011, I missed nationals, and then I was thinking maybe the 2018 Olympics. Then I won juniors at nationals and was second last year (in seniors). I refocused. I’m giving it everything I have. No holding back."

Zawadzki agrees, stressing the importance of not getting stressed out mentally while putting everything she has into her performances in Boston — and, hopefully, in Sochi.


story continues below
story continues below

"I really think our sport is more mental than physical," she said. "You build that pattern of doing it right in your programs in practice, and you have to convince yourself that you’ve done it so many times before, you can do it in competition. That’s when the doubts can come in and you have to remove them and just go for it because you know you can do it."

What no U.S. woman has done is medal at the Olympics or worlds since 2006. But before starring on the world stage, the Americans must make the podium at nationals.

With the exception of ice dance, where world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White are Olympic favorites, the medals chase in Sochi is something of a long shot for American skaters. According to Adam Rippon, last year’s men’s runner-up at the nationals, that means being extra aggressive on the Boston ice.

"My mindset is totally different now," he said. "You always want to achieve success, but in an Olympic year, it’s about being successful by more attacking. More attacking everything. My belief is if I attack, success will come. I would be very upset with myself if I don’t go for it in everything that I do."

The nationals begin Thursday with the short program for pairs and for men. The women and ice dancers get started Friday and the event runs through Sunday.

Afterward, 15 American athletes will turn their attention to Russia.

"I have nothing to lose, everything to gain," Rippon said. "We all feel this way. Seize the moment."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.