To be frank, the way Julia is skating right now coupled with Kim and Asada, I think the podium is locked.
The only three that can sneak past Julia at this point are Akiko, Adelina, and Carolina.
The rest has 0% chance.
judging by julia and adelina's stellar performances at europeans, they're going to have to bomb, other favorites falter, and ashley have the skate of her life in order for a podium finish to happen.
As for Ashley, I posted earlier on this board before the Nationals free skate that I didn't think she necessarily needed to win to do well at the Olympics, but that was assuming Ashley would pull up to (at worst) second. Now, I don't know. My gut instinct is, coming into the Olympics, Gracie is now the No. 1 U.S. lady, and if both skate about the same in Sochi, she'll come out on top. That puts Ashley in a tough position. Figure the Japanese, the Russians, Yu-Na Kim, Carolina Kostner and maybe even Kaetlyn Osmond into that equation, and I think she's got a very big hill to climb, now. If Gracie does finish ahead of Ashley, it's extremely hard to imagine another spot on the podium for a U.S. lady.
I also noticed during the exhibition that Christina Gao has a spot on one of USFSA's promo commercials--so if the team was chosen based on who they have marketed, what was she doing placing so low?
One article pointed out a conflict of interest regarding sponsorships...apparently more than one of USFS's direct sponsors happens to also sponsor miss Wagner...this was not openly disclosed by them...
Not in the top 5. Even Polina may score higher than her (and should if they are both clean).
And I think it is reprehensible that cyberbullies are leaving hateful messages against Ashley on her FB site as well as Twitter. Shame on those cowards hiding behind a computer screen.
Still the "Almost Girl" in my eyes. Not enough talent to win a medal in such a deep pool..
It'll be nice if the US can sneak in there for a medal - honestly though, I'm indifferent as to whether it is Gold or Wagner (or even Edmunds, as unlikely as that would be)
I do think a 100% Gold is our best shot at competing with the Russians and the Japanese (I think Kim is out of reach unless she messes up big time)
The conflict of interest is still somewhat concerning IMHO, though. Especially given their inconsistency in naming the team(s) across the different disciplines. We will never know how much of an influence it was in the decision-making process but it was never disclosed. Now, this is not to say they were wrong to choose her, but what precedent does this set moving forward?Hm. That does give one pause - but I think that Ashley still comes out on top because of her 'body of work'.
Thank God the new girls are coming on strong now and it's not a sure thing who will be on the podium in Sochi. Last year it seemed it was going to be Kim, Mao and Kostner. I think it's better that there are a new crop of girls with every Olympics and not the same skaters from 4 years before.