I think the reason that there was so much discussion of the selection for the Olympic team this year was because it went against long-standing precedent. Yes, the national championship is not called the Olympic trials. This was (or so it was widely asserted four years ago, when the USFSA changed the wording of the rules) because if it were called the Olympic trials then the USOC could stick it's nose in and the USFSA could lose some autonomy and control over nationals.
Originally Posted by charmblade
The other reason is that although the USFSA said over and over that they were going to abandon precedent this year, no one really believed them because they had been crying about the same wolf over and over but nothing ever happened. When they finally did what they said they were going to do it caught people by surprise. (In fairness to the USFSA, though, the problem rarely occurs. Most of the time the best skaters internationally also do well enough at nationals to make the Olympic team -- or if not, then they receive a little nudge in nationals judging to make sure it all comes out right.)