What do you do when it appears that hard work and sacrifice doesn't pay off in the sport of figure skating? How do you reconcile this scenario; you make it to Nationals, the biggest day in your figure skating career, nail your program, win a silver medal but get over looked for the Olympic Team and ultimately overlooked as the first alternate for skaters who placed beneath you? These are the same types of questions probably being asked by Ross Minor who recently took second place at the 2018 U. S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.
Before I go on I want to give my disclaimer that I am not a certified coach or a skating professional. However, I am the Mom of a figure skater and like so many other skating Moms, I encourage my Daughter to work hard, dream big and when you fall, get back up again.
By now, most of us know that Ross Minor placed second at Nationals and was not selected to be on the Olympic team. Although Jason Brown finished in sixth place, he was chosen to be the first alternate while Minor was demoted to second. At first glance this type of selection process doesn’t make a lick of sense, as it leaves many people scratching their heads, thinking how did they (U.S. Figure Skating) decide that?
Unfortunately, Ross Minor is not the only U.S. Figure Skater to endure such disappointment at Nationals. Mirai Nagasu also experienced something similar back in 2014 when she skated a flawless program and placed third at Nationals. Despite a fourth-place finish, Ashley Wagner was selected while Nagasu was left off the Olympic Team.
I do think it’s important to note that according to U.S. Figure Skating they typically look at a figure skater’s performance over the course of the entire year. They also consider how consistent the skater was the year prior to the Olympic season. It’s fair to say that they are not just evaluating the skater’s ability to leave it all on the ice at the National competition.
Having considered all these factors, I still can’t say that U.S. Figure Skating is wrong in the way that they select skaters for the Olympic games. I’m sure that their decisions are not made lightly and that they use careful analysis in determining who get’s a shot at the gold medal. However, I do think it’s important that we discuss these concerns so that we can possibly help bring about a selection process that truly does seem fair and impartial to our hard-working athletes.
Most importantly, I hope that great skaters like Ross Minor are not discouraged by these recent events. Like many figure skaters before him, I believe his journey is just beginning and we wish him the absolute best going forward.
Lastly, we want to wish Bradi Tennell, Mirai Nagasu, and Karen Chen the very best going into these 2018 winter Olympics. We also send a huge shout out to the Men, Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou, Adam Rippon, and and all our pairs skaters. You all truly have a special gift and we know that you will all skate great in PyeongChang.