I think it doesn't much matter either way. She and the other US girls were presented by NBC and the US fed as strong medal contenders when they really weren't.
Ashley did great at both Sochi and Worlds, about where she was expected to be given her performances earlier in the season. Certainly Mirai wouldn't have performed nearly as well.
I think Mirai is in a good position right now, by not sending her at world/Sochi and finishing her season with a great performance at nationals, I think that she can challenge the field next season, if she rise the occasion to show that her 3rd place at national wasn't a joke, but the result of her hard work, she can regain her place as a top contender.
Ashley deserved the Olympics. If Mirai wanted to go, she should have skated better in the lead-up. It's over, it's done with, seriously, GET OVER IT.
Agreed. Mirai did herself no favours with her 4CC performance. As much as I want to defend her saying she was psychologically crushed after being left off the Olympic team, she had a chance to medal at a not very competitive ISU championship and she blew it. If she was so delicate that her mindset was going to make her the worst ranked American at that event (with Gold/Edmunds/Wagner not even there), then she definitely wasn't the right choice for Sochi. She should look at her positives like her GP medal and strong Nationals performance but other than Nationals she was pretty basic compared to Wagner.
I think Ashley did a great job for USFSA of "holding down the fort" until the younger and frankly more talented Americans developed and became consistent enough to take over and bring the US back to the point of being metal contenders. I think she is a good skater, a solid work horse type who could be depended on for a solid placement but who did not have a chance to metal on the bigger stages unless others made mistakes. I think she made the most of her talent and had a very good career at a time when US figure skating was not that strong. For that, she in effect saved USFSA by qualifying team USA for three spots in Sochi. I don't think USFSA ever considered leaving her off the Sochi team. I think the last spot came down to Mirai vs Polina with USFSA choosing the future rather than the past (a wise choice I think as Polina gained valuable experience on the front end of her career). I do think if Ashley chooses not to retire she will be surpassed by other skaters fairly quickly. I see one possibly two more world teams for her at most.
No the USFS did not kill or save Ashleys career. It was and is a non factor. AShley will destroy or make her career. although Gracie, paulina, mirai and someother american girls may have some say.
I think Ashley did very well in Sochi and at worlds. She put forth solid performances and placed top 10 at both as well as helped earn an Olympic bronze medal.
Like Risa said, Ashley capitalized on the US slump in talent and emerged as the front-runner for the US ladies for two and half years. She found consistency and a style that made people take notice and ended up netting several gold medals on the GP, GPF medals and even a 4CC title. It was clear once Gracie hit the senior scene that Ashley's days were numbered. Once Gracie got herself together even a little bit, she would surpass Ashley.
That's exactly what happened. Ashley still struggles with the tougher elements which puts her at a distinct disadvantage as we head into this new era of ladies' figure skating. Everyone has at least one consistent 3-3 if not two 3-3s, or a 2-3...Ashley struggles to hit the 3-3 and that is what will hurt her the most next season.
She used to have the PCS edge thanks in large part to her ability to put out clean programs; her consistent performances raised her stock with the judges as well as her overall scores. Now, with the success of Julia/Adelina/Gracie, that edge has been erased. I don't find Julia or Gracie to be on the same level as Ashley when it comes to selling a program and grabbing the judges/audience but the scores don't reflect the skating; they reflect the scoring trend for each skater and, at the end of the season, both Julia and Gracie were trending up. Both scored higher PCS than Ashley even with falls at worlds this year. Adelina has always had the goods to score well in PCS; she just had a nasty habit of shooting herself in the foot by making errors. When she beat Ashley in the FS at TEB, her PCS were only 1.16 points off of Ashley's. If the consistency Adelina found at the end of last season continues next season, I'd expect her to be at the top of the PCS earners. Even Anna's PCS shot up at worlds this season, going from 56+ at COC to 64.05 at worlds...Ashley got 65.88. Anna's numbers will go up if she continues to skate well next season.
Ashley has lost her advantage but she can still compete. Julia, Adelina and Gracie can outscore her in both areas now which means it will be much tougher for Ashley to win. Essentially she turns into the Akiko Suzuki of this group: lovely and entertaining skater, but not quite able to keep up technically with the top names. Ashley can continue to have a good career. I think she can earn several more GP medals and national medals...as far as gold medals go, I think those will be harder for her to get b/c she's lower on the pecking order now.
As of now and for the next year or two, I'd put Ashley as a solid #3 for the US unless by some miracle Agnes turns a corner or Mirai starts skating like she wants to win something other than nationals every four years.