In terms of the debate over the American Ladies Olympic team, I am somewhat astonished that it came down to a choice between Ashley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu. Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner have clearly demonstrated over the last few season that they can consistently perform at the highest level in seniors and are the best skaters in America right now, and it was those two who earned the 3 spots at the Olympics in the first place. They should have been made automatic locks for the first 2 spots regardless of the outcome at U.S. Nationals.
The choice for the final spot should therefore have come down to a choice between Mirai Nagasu and Polina Edmunds, and I would have chosen Mirai. Whilst Polina Edmunds performed very well at Nationals, she only beat Mirai by a very small margin, and she has virtually no real track record at senior level. Her record at the junior grand prix shows that there are consistency issues (she finished 4th in the JGPF after problems with her SP). Hence, her performance at Nationals could have been a one off that she will find difficult to replicate at the Olympics. Mirai, on the other hand, has experience at the Olympics and would therefore have been far more likely to cope with it. I just think its completely crazy to select somebody with so little senior experience on the basis of just one good performance (i.e. the whole U.S. selection system is defective). Hence, I think the U.S Fed should move away from selecting principally by way of performances at Nationals. They should instead be selecting those who they think will make up the best team, given a whole range of factors - experience at the highest level, consistency over the last year, whether there are any injury issues, overall quality of skating, scores achieved over the last year, etc. On that basis, the team selected should have been Gracie, Ashley, and Mirai. As stated, it is quite obvious that Gracie and Ashley are the best skaters in America right now. There should have been no question mark over their selection. It should also be readily apparent that you do not go around selecting on the basis of one off performances which could ultimately prove to be unrepresentative of a skaters overall form and ability - an outlier as statisticians refer to it.
U.S. Nationals were Edmunds first major senior competition. How can anybody predict with any certainty how she will continue to perform in seniors? There is no track record whatsoever to base any proper assessment on, apart from in junior competitions (as stated, she finished 4th in the JGPF after problems with her SP). Mirai, on the other hand, has the requisite experience, and has been moving rapidly back to her best this season. Accordingly, she should have selected in place of Polina Edmunds, and the decisive factor for me was that Edmunds only beat Mirai by a very small margin at Nationals (193.63 - 190.74).
Mirai has been extremely harshly treated and if Edmunds performs poorly at the Olympics, then the U.S. Fed are going to have a massive case to answer for. For a start, given that Edmunds has no real senior track record, she is going to be at a PCS disadvantage at the Olympics (as is the case for any junior transitioning to seniors at a world level for the first time). Accordingly, she is going to be heavily dependent on her TES scores, and that means that the pressure will be really on her not to make any technical mistakes. A tough ask in the Olympics so early in her career. In my opinion, what the U.S Fed have done here is as bad as what Russia did last year with Kovtun's selection for Worlds. That ended up being a disaster, and I think the decision to select Edmunds will be as well.