I really wish there was a way to let Ashley know there's a LOT of people that support her. Ever since the hate & death threats on Twitter, I've felt miserable as a fan. Her lifetime dream of skating at the Olympics is about to be fulfilled but people seem set on turning it into a nightmare for her. That's just awful. I still think she's an underdog for a bronze, but more than that, I hate that people are writing her off altogether, like if she can't get a medal at the Olympics her skating career is over. And that's not at all the case.
For one I hope she gets to skate in the Team Event. It'll (hopefully) be a good 'icebreaker' to get used to Olympic spotlights. I assume Gracie & Ashley will both skate, one of them SP and one of them LP? At least I'm really hoping for that. That way, individual medal or not, she (and Gracie for that matter) will have a good shot at an Olympic medal.
Other than that, I don't think Ashley will retire after the Olympics. She'll definitely go to Worlds, especially if she didn't get an individual medal. Without Yu Na, Carolina, Mao... (assuming they will retire after worlds, which, other than Yu Na, is not sure yet?), Ashley will have a great shot at a medal. Of course the Russian girls and Gracie will be tough competition, but Ashley has beaten all of them before, multiple times even.
I hope practice is going well for her. The triple-triple looked pretty solid earlier in the season, hopefully she can get it back. Most of all, I hope she's got the fire in her belly and the confidence to match going into Sochi. I hope she's not paying attention to petitions (I think most of the people who signed it have no real clue as to the selection criteria etc) and the ludicrous stuff about racism.
I think her SP looks awesome, it's original and it suits her. Samson & Delilah was a great program for her and if she skates it with confidence, like she did several times last season, it's an absolute treasure. She's a great personality and I really hope the Americans appreciate having such a strong skater in their team - ranked third in the world and with several gold medals in her pocket (Us Belgians have only Jorik in the Men's even to root for - great guy though he is)
Sorry for the kind of stream-of-thoughts kind of reply. This has taken up so much 'brooding time' for me since Nationals and I feel like I really needed a moment to let it all out