ugh I'm so sad
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.
Can anyone clarify the time deduction? I assume she went long - but by how much. I doubt she could hear the music over the ovation - that seems unfair to me
I don't know why everyone is making it out to be such a controversy that Ashley made the team. If you look a the selection criteria, Ashely is clearly the first pick for the team and Gracie clearly the second. If there is any controversy it is in picking Polina over Mirai. Other than Nationals, the only competition used for selection that Polina competed in was 2013 JGP which is the lowest weighted competition and she only finished 4th. Even though the current Nationals is weighted the most, I think the fact that they finished so close and the fact that Mirai competed in 3 of the other competitions (all with more weight than Polina's one) that she should have been picked.
Has Mirai accepted the Four Continents bid?
Last year, I was dying for her to make the worlds team. The year before, extremely so. This year, I realized I didn't particularly care - because, I suppose, I finally realized that she is just not going to do anything at worlds/Olympics. She's not the girl who in 2010 was medal potential. She's lost the jumps. And after four years, you would have expected her skating skills to improved, and her other PCS qualities. But they haven't. I honestly cannot say that Mirai has better SS than Polina, a brand new debutante still on the junior circuit. That's quite telling. You'd expect girls younger than her to beat her in TES, but not to beat or come close to her in PCS. Even clean at CoR, Mirai's score was low due mainly to poor PCS, and it's not just one event, there's a trend of Mirai earning these scores for years, clean or not.
A clean Ashley would have beaten Polina. Mirai just isn't in Ashley's league, a statement which would have pained me to make 2 or 3 years ago, but it's true. I used to just think Mirai was struggling mostly because of a confidence problem or concentration problem (or as Dave Lease says, insufficiently directed training), accentuated by growing out a little. I used to think she could just "get it together" mentally, work on her jumps, and things would be all right again. But it's not just mental focus or rotation problems, it's that she hasn't developed as a skater since 2010. Looking at her skating, I can't say what she has worked on in all this time. People always said she had potential, and I thought that too and loved for her it... but potential doesn't transform into brilliance by itself. In many ways, she seems to have gone downhill even after skating clean: her speed was low, the choreography just wasn't there, there were too many rest points, and she's lost the quality to perform that she so clearly had in her Pirates Olympic programme.
Emotionally I would have sent Mirai, but logically, Polina is the better choice. Yes, it is a massive step-up for her from JGP, but we don't have any evidence she will perform worse than Mirai has over the last four years. It'll give her experience, and sadly it does seem like Mirai is the past. Polina did outscore Mirai, after all, and unfortunately Mirai does not have a glittering resume to brandish that would fortify her case against the newbie. There's a gulf between Ashley and Mirai in terms of skating talent; not so much between Polina and Mirai, and clearly not enough for them to go against the medal order a second time. Had Mirai come 2nd, I think she would be on the team. She didn't.