U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner changed her long program less than one month before the Olympics.
Wagner, the 2012 and 2013 U.S. champion, struggled at the Grand Prix Final in December and the U.S. Championships two weeks ago, her last two events.
She finished fourth at the U.S. Championships and was placed on the three-woman Olympic Team. Third place Mirai Nagasu was left off.
“If I had not skated poorly at Nationals I wouldn’t have been able to change a program that wasn’t going to get me far in Sochi,” Wagner said.
She’s reverting her long program music from “Romeo and Juliet” to “Samson and Delilah,” which she used in 2012-13, when she won her first two Grand Prix series events and was second at the Grand Prix Final.
“I told my coach the night they picked the Olympic Team that we needed to change this program because it was something I struggled with all season,” Wagner said. “I just couldn’t connect with the Juliet character, the program made me nervous. I was terrified. I didn’t feel confident stepping out onto the ice.”
The skate setup will stay the same.
“My coach let me change the music if we didn’t completely re-do the skate itself,” she said.
Wagner will also revert to a similar yellow free skate costume she wore last season.
“I feel like now I’m really going to be a name to watch, I really feel that,” she said.
SCHEDULE UPDATE: Vonn will will return for the final women’s downhill training run on Monday at 9 p.m. ET. LIVE STREAM
Look closely at Lindsey Vonn.
When NBC cameras zoom in on the two-time Olympic medalist, viewers will notice that she wrote a couple of messages on her uniform in permanent marker.
On the thumb of her right glove, Vonn has the word “believe” in Greek. It mirrors a tattoo she has on the inside of a finger.
“Signifying my last Olympics [in 2018] and just need to believe in myself,” Vonn said to NBC’s Nick Zaccardi.
On her helmet, Vonn has the initials “D.K.” and a heart. It is meant to honor her late grandfather, Don Kildow.
Kildow, who served in the Korean War from 1952-54, died on Nov. 1. Watch to learn more about Vonn’s special relationship with her grandparents:
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — At the bottom of the Olympic aerials landing hill, where crashes are common and the term “slap back” is part of the everyday lingo, skiers spend almost as much time figuring out how to protect their heads as they do working on all those flips and spins.
“We learn how to fall,” U.S. jumper Jon Lillis said.
Elsewhere around the action-sports venue, that’s not so much the case.
Concussion dangers lurk everywhere — from the iced-over deck of the halfpipe, to the steeply pitched landings on the slopestyle course, to the careening twists and turns of the snowboard cross track, to the aerials course, where “slap back” is the term for when a skier’s head slaps backward against the snow. But at the Olympics, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding who diagnoses head injuries, and no hard-and-fast protocol that athletes must clear to be allowed back on the slopes after a concussion.
“A bit concerning,” says neurologist Kevin Weber of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Because you worry that athletes in other sports that may not be as popular as football are getting, I wouldn’t say ignored, but the concussions they’re getting are under-scrutinized.”
Read the full story at NBCOlympics.com