Ashley Wagner changed her free skate for the second time this season, reverting to music from “La La Land,” which she had dropped in August.
“I’m listening to my original instincts,” Wagner said in an Instagram video posted Monday. “It’s definitely the change that I need. … It feels fresh. It feels light, and I haven’t felt like that in a while on the ice.”
Wagner trained a “La La Land” free skate in the preseason until August, when she decided “the character didn’t really feel as complicated as I wanted her to be. There really didn’t feel like there was much of an emotional range.”
So Wagner went back to her “Moulin Rouge!” free skate from the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, when she won her third U.S. title and a world championships silver medal.
Wagner performed “Moulin Rouge!” at her fall Grand Prix assignments — taking bronze at Skate Canada and withdrawing during her Skate America free skate due to an ankle injury.
She announced the move back to “La La Land” eight days after Skate America, shortly after returning to the ice for training.
Wagner, who lives and trains in Southern California, said publicly as far back as February that she wanted to skate to “La La Land” at the 2018 Olympics. Skaters usually wait until after the preceding season ends in early spring to announce program music for the following season.
But Wagner was so enamored that she texted her choreographer from a movie theater to say she had chosen “La La Land” for her Olympic free skate.
Wagner’s 11-year senior international career is marked by ups and downs, tears and several concussions. She identified with the film’s theme of hope.
Four years ago, Wagner changed her free skate in between the U.S. Championships, where she was fourth, and the Olympics, where she placed seventh.
This season’s nationals are in one month in San Jose, after which the three-woman Olympic team will be named.
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