I'm a little confused about Ashley's work ethic because I always thought that she was an example of hard work compensating for a relative lack of natural talent (i.e. the opposite of Mirai Nagasu's reputation). IIRC Ashley herself has talked about how she knows she isn't as naturally talented as some other skaters but that she could outwork them (in her TSL interview, I think).
and yet this Rafael Arutunian interview from Absolute Skating seems to suggest otherwise:
You were in Sochi with Ashley Wagner. She was in a difficult situation after finishing fourth at US Nationals. How did you help her survive all the media pressure and be at her best for the Olympics?
What we did is that we concentrated on her for 2-3 weeks. And she received the best attention. But if she wants to compete and be the best, she cannot rely on only 2-3 weeks. Her training must be done at the highest level all year long. I don’t really read a lot of what they say and write. We concentrated on what we were able to do, and everything had to be done in the best way, down to the smallest detail. In sports there is no irrelevant detail; all details are important. If you ignore the small details, they will hit you back. So always make everything perfect - they way you train, the way you live, how far you live from the ice rink, who teaches you, and who does your choreography. It’s not perfect every time, not even in the USA.
What is her best quality as a skater?
I think it’s her performance, the way she performs. Technically she needs to develop and she needs to change her work ethic; she needs to work more, which is difficult, but I think that it’s not too late to change that.
I think Ashley is just different than many other skaters. I mean, she's totally opposite to Japanese skaters, even to Gracie and Polina. She has her own style and many people can call it "lack of talent". You know, she just doesn't meet the standards, she's creating the new ones And I think she's absolutely aware of this. And maybe Artunian wants her skating to be more fluent, more "classical" if you know what I mean. She was working hard to pleased of herself and she wants to work even harder to please the judges. It's just an ideaI'm a little confused about Ashley's work ethic because I always thought that she was an example of hard work compensating for a relative lack of natural talent (i.e. the opposite of Mirai Nagasu's reputation). IIRC Ashley herself has talked about how she knows she isn't as naturally talented as some other skaters but that she could outwork them (in her TSL interview, I think).
I am not a fan but I respect how she carried herself during that selection nightmare.
I don't love Marai. I respect her. My favorite skater is actually Gracie Gold.
As to the point of the Super Bowl and other sports, Skating is an Olympic Sport and uses Nationals as an Olympic trial. In any other sport (let's say swimming) that isn't a team sport like soccer or basketball, they use the placements of the Olympic trial to determine the team and don't intervene unless a hopeful who is world ranked is injured. If they don't place, tough bananas, better luck next time. Some of those hopefuls are famous and are even the main marketing faces of the federation. Skating is the only sport I know of that will replace a skater due to politics and ignore the supposed Olympic trial's placements. What happened to Marai was dead wrong to everybody involved and I don't care if they thought Ashley would place higher, tough bananas, better luck next time don't bomb at Nats.
I like Ashley very much. With Mao, Yuna, and Carolina out, she is one of the most engaging performers left in the ladies' field. I love how she into her programs on the attack, and how much sass and fire she shows. Her Samson & Delilah program really showcased this, and I hope her future programs will do the same. Her candid off-ice personality only enhances this and makes me like her more. Same goes for the whole Sochi debacle. Nationals being the sole selection criterion never made sense to me. Ashley earned her spot with years of solid skating. If Mirai wanted to go so badly, then maybe she should've skated well on a regular basis, instead of once every four years.
Yes, Ashley needs to improve her tech, but I wouldn't write her off any more than I'd predict Olympic medals for Gracie or Polina.
Also, not that this matters, but if I must address it: Ashley is absolutely beautiful and I'm confused why anyone would think otherwise.
Also, I don't really get why people have such a hard time with the idea that placement at Nationals does not automatically = on the Olympic team. It is a national competition, but it is not called the Olympic trials. Other sports have a specific competition called "Olympic trials" that is often separate from Nationals. Figure skating does not have this. Also, the USFSA said before Nationals that the placements would not necessarily be the eventual team members. Granted, most casual viewers would have no idea of this, but if you care enough to be more than a casual viewer this was not a secret.
My two cents. Harding without the jumps and lead pipe.
To the OP's point about how Ashley is recieved I'll say this. Ashley is very abrasive and carries herself in an almost polarizing way. I think that is why she is so well recieved by some and kind of puts others off. To me it's fine and makes for but I can see how her attitude both on and off ice isn't well recieved by all.
I said it on another thread but I really hope she puts on a bit more of an endearing program this year. I suggested Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley because I consider her a very powerful skater and the contrast from such a light yet powerful song mixed with deep edges and powerful emotion could capture some hearts next season. Sometimes beautiful music = beautiful skater in the eyes of fans. It would take a powerful display of skating to not be overshadowed by the music but the vocals on that particular song act more like an instrument which make it perfect IMO for competitive skating. Clearly a gamble too which might payoff big for her and prove to be wise at this point in her career. I guess what I'm saying is she needs to maybe stop trying to prove to the world both on and off the ice that there is a place for her and instead just skate her way into people's hearts. Carolina was a master in selling herself as a veteran and someone to root for. I like that approach much better for someone at this point in their career.