Okay, I know there has been some heightened interest in Ladies figure skating due to the controversial nature of its Olympic team selection. So I thought it would be good to use my figure skating research skills to good use and consider one factor that my had lead to their decision.
One major component of the scoring at any figure skating event is the technical elements score, or TES. That is the score you get for executing your jumps, spins and step sequences.
In the free skate, here were the TES scores of the top four at U.S. Nationals:
Gracie Gold: 71.27
Polina Edmunds: 66.21
Mirai Nagasu: 65.62
Ashley Wagner: 58.48.
Okay, so at first glance, you say, well it's totally obvious to send the top three, look how low Ashley Wagner's score is compared to Mirai Nagasu!
However, the picture muddies a bit when you look at past international results.
Here are the technical scores for each of those four ladies at their major international events this fall:
Polina Edmunds: 61.82, 62.37, 62.95
Ashley Wagner: 58.54, 61.81, 56.06
Gracie Gold: 56.09, 55.09
Mirai Nagasu: 38.18, 57.95
Now you're probably wondering why does Ashley and Polina have an extra event. Based on their placement in what is called Grand Prix events (most skaters get two), they qualified for something that is called the Grand Prix Final. Polina Edunds qualified in the junior level, while Ashley qualified at the senior level.
Another thing to consider that as a junior skater, Polina Edmunds has one less element than the senior ladies. So if you add two points (the base value for that senior element to Polina's score, then she has an even bigger gap on the three senior ladies.
So even though Polina Edmunds does not have a considerable amount of senior experience, she has been highly consistent this season and has turned in a high technical score, which could contribute to a good showing at the Olympics.
Gracie Gold, as the champion, after a subpar fall season proven herself by winning Nationals.
So that leaves us with Mirai and Ashley. Ashley technical scores have been consistent if not super high (compared to Polina), while Mirai scores tended to swing between OK and absolutely dismal (and it's worth noting that at a recent event last week she scored 48.12).
If you look back at the previous season (2012-2013):
Ashley Wagner: 63.83, 62.91, 54.93, 61.34
Mirai Nagasu: 45.89, 56.36
Ashley has two more events due to again making the Grand Prix Final and going to the World Championships last year.
So I guess you could argue it two ways: Ashley clearly peaked in 2012 and hadn't done that well in 2013, so therefore her performance at Nationals was indicative of a downward trend. Therefore she should stay home.
But one could look at the huge swing in the technical scores at Mirai and question which Mirai will show up at the Olympics and dock her for her inconsistent record.
Obviously, the latter was ultimately the deciding factor.
As for me personally, I'm heartbroken for Mirai and loved her performances at Nationals ( I gave a standing ovation for both).
My point with this exercise to probably shed some insight into what kind of numbers the selection committee was looking at and how that might have factored into their decision.