Wagner goes back to her regularly scheduled program
With just over two weeks to go before the start of the Winter Olympics, most athletes are fine tuning their performances in anticipation of Sochi.
But that’s not what Ashley Wagner is doing.
One of three American women who will be competing for figure skating gold, Wagner has made the unusual decision to scrap the long program she used earlier this month during her disappointing fourth-place showing at the US Figure Skating Championships and will return to the routine she used during the 2012-13 season.
At the end of the season, you’d hope to have your programs locked down. But clearly Ashley has doubts about whether this program is right for her. It’s a hard position to be in.
Wagner, whose long program had been based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, told USA Today that she had never felt comfortable with the character of Juliet. “She’s a soft and almost weak character,” she said. “In competition, I felt that made me weak as well.”
I can relate to how she feels. Although it wasn’t on the eve of the Olympics, I had a dress that was a light shade of pink, not a color that I favor. I just didn’t feel strong in that color. I wore it once and I changed it. When you are on the ice competing, you have to feel comfortable with everything: Music, dress, moves … everything is part of the performance, and if it doesn’t feel right your performance will suffer.
Still, I’m a little surprised that this change is coming so late in the game. If she had doubts, Wagner probably should have done it before nationals. But fortunately, she has enough time to get used to the program so it shouldn’t be a problem.
I’ve been in a situation where I’ve brought back old programs. It’s not a difficult as you might think. I went back and watched some video and after one or two practices I remembered all the moves and choreography. I’m sure that’s what Ashley will do.
Going back to an old program is very different than, say, Gracie Gold trying a new short program for the first time at this year’s nationals. This is already rehearsed. This is more like a reset button.
Ashley shouldn’t have a problem. If she’s more confident with her old program, if she thinks it’s going to be a lot better, I would say go for it. It’s her feeling. And her feelings are the most important.
She needs to be at her best, physically and mentally in order to compete for a medal.