Who deserves it? The best three overall leading up to the Olympics including the GPs and Nationals. So far that would be Ashley/Gracie no brainer there and for the moment Samantha Cesario.
In my heart of hearts I wanted Mirai to go. But she just doesn't look in top form this season. In fact she looks the worse that I've ever seen her. I hope she stays in after Sochi and has a great comeback ala Kostner/Wagner
I was disgusted when the judges at Nationals gave Agnes a 65+ with a fall in the SP. Mirai deserved an even higher score by that standard and should have been in 2nd going into the LP. How demoralizing is it to know going in that no matter how great you skate the flavor of the moment is going to be held up no matter what. I felt the same about Gracie. Imo she shouldn't have even been in the top 10 after the SP, although she did deserve to win the LP.
For all of you answering, "the top 3 at Nationals," I essentially agree, but I think our original poster, skateluvr, was raising a really good point/question about the fairness of the judging at Nationals- in other words, she was suggesting that the judges at nationals may favor Agnes or Gao over Sam or Mirai even if the latter skated clean. Her question was trying to push towards exploring that possibility, I think, and also towards assessing overall most deserving candidates regardless of judging.
I don't think Cesario will get the third spot. There will be a lot of competition for that third spot. Agnes and Christina have more of a track record at Nationals as, of course, do Mirai and Alyssa. I personally do not think Alyssa will come back. Mirai could surprise (or maybe it's just wishful thinking). I think Agnes is the best bet right now.
It is kind of frustrating that we don't have a really strong 3rd prospect to send to the Olympics. Especially with actually having the three spots available this year!
That said, maybe things will turn around for some of our ladies.
I'd hate to see unreliable Agnes get to go over Sam. She's so much better.