Ashley Wagner is on her way to becoming the first American woman since Michelle Kwan in 2005 to win back-to-back national figure skating championships after taking the lead in Omaha with a solid short program performed to “Red Violin” Thursday night.
“I felt really solid,” the eight ranked skater in the world said after her skate. “I did exactly what I planned on doing. I feel like I owned every jump, spin, and element that I had in that program.”
Despite a training regimen that her coach called “anything but ideal” as he admitted she was concerned more about sparkles and music than preparation, Wagner scored a 67.57 and leads Agnes Zawadzki by more than two points heading into Saturday’s long program.
Vancouver Olympian Mirai Nagasu sits in third, 0.92 points behind in her comeback to the sport.
“I feel like I’ve been like that little girl from ages ago who wanted to go to the Olympics and medal,” Nagasu said. “I feel like I’ve been trying to regain that memory. Sometimes it’s hard but it’s been a great journey.”
The long, long wait is over.
Team USA ended their 42-year Olympic medal drought in cross-country skiing Wednesday and they made American cross-country history in the process.
Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women’s team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. Sweden captured silver and Norway took home bronze.
Diggins and Randall are the first American women to win an Olympic medal and join Bill Koch as the only American cross-country skiers to earn an Olympic medal.
The Americans advanced to the finals courtesy of their first place finish in the semifinals, beating Sweden and OAR in the process.
Diggins out-sprinted both the gold and silver medalists of the individual sprint (Stina Nilsson and Maiken Falla, respectively) in the final stretch to take the gold.
Gold: Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (USA)
Silver: Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson (SWE)
Bronze: Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Falla (NOR)
Click here for a full recap of Team USA’s historic run
Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.
Jan Kolar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation, while Pavel Francouz made 18 saves and stopped all five shootout attempts.
Ryan Donato scored his tournament-leading fifth goal, and Jim Slater added a shorthanded goal as the Olympics come to an end for the United States.