2014 US Nationals Fluff: Ashley Wagner & Gracie Gold

1. Olympic Journey: Ashley Wagner
2. Olympic Journey: Gracie Gold (00:54)
3. Feeling on the Ice (01:36)
4. Ashley’s Interview before FS (02:21)
5. Spots for Sochi (02:50)
6. Ashley right after FS (05:55)
7. Gracie’s Champion Interview (06:17)
8. Ladies Sochi Olympic Team (07:05)

Eight Runners, A Dinner And A Story Comes Full Circle

Our story came full circle Sunday night. 

After two-and-a-half months of blogging out their journey to Boylston, every one of the “NPR 8” came together for a final dinner on the eve of marathon Monday. For the first time since we started this project, all eight runners (and their editors) met face-to-face. 

We gathered in Boston’s North End, a neighborhood  known for its narrow, cobbled streets and its Italian restaurants. As you might imagine, the streets were crawling with runners looking for some carbs to fuel their bodies on their 26.2-mile run. 

The talk at the table was about life, about running and about Boston. It seemed like a microcosm of the city. There was anticipation for the task at a hand, a course filled with hills that will test months of preparation. There was obsession over the weather: It’ll be chilly at the start but luckily it seems a long, harsh winter is behind us. And of course, there was a bit of nervousness – about the race itself and about the long shadow cast by the two explosions near the finish line last year. 

But, really, like in the city itself, the overwhelming feeling at the dinner table was excitement. This is, after all, a sporting event. The city stops for it. And even nature, with its daffodils and tulips and glorious, yellow willows, seems to celebrate it. 

Monday morning on Patriot’s Day our eight runners will board yellow school buses in Boston; they’ll travel out to Hopkinton to begin a 26.2 mile journey that’ll test their bodies and test their spirit.

Months of training will boil down to a few hours on the roads of New England, culminating in a fleeting moment of exultation on Boylston Street.

– Eyder Peralta 

Gracie Gold……. What a magical performance. I’m seriously in awe over the majesty and grace that she exhibited as well as the complete command that she had on the ice. Also the dress made me believe that she could be Elsa from Frozen along with the fact that no one else could have handled themselves on the ice as well as she did….. What a treat to be able to witness the gold winning performance of the new national champion. Congratulations to this amazing lady! She absolutely deserved it. Can’t wait to see what she’ll do in Sochi!!!!!

(Picture from unknown source)

On the US Olympics Figure Skating Team Ladies Picks

If we’re going to take the ‘body of work’ argument for why Ashley should go over Mirai, then why is Polina being sent? She has essentially no senior experience. And if we’re keeping Polina because she 'earned it’ with her second place finish (which is also based on the assumption that those scorings were accurate and fair, which…heh.) then Ashley shouldn’t be sent because she simply didn’t deliver at Nationals. I think from either way that you look at it, the logic doesn’t work and Mirai should be on the team. Personally, I’ve never really liked Ashley’s skating but I don’t actually have a problem with her being put on the Olympic team because over the last few years, she HAS been doing well. What I do have a problem with is her replacing Mirai instead of replacing Polina, who I don’t really foresee being the wunderkind USFS seems to think she’ll be. The Olympics is NOT the place to test a greenhorn like Polina. I’m all for seeing what potential Polina has but we’re sending this conspicuously junior skater as our representative to go up against the best of the world at the Olympics? Polina’s jumps were nice but every other element in her performances were just not on that world-class senior level.

Also, I was at all the events and at the exhibition, and let me tell you, nobody captured the hearts and the unanimous support of the audience like Mirai did.