Ashley Wagner: Profile of US Figure Skating Olympian for Sochi 2014

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2014

Ashley Wagner of the United States watches Jason Brown of the United States competes in the men's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Pool)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Crash Course: Ashley Wagner is an American figure skater who has designs on bringing home an individual medal from Sochi to go with her team bronze. Wagner is a highly decorated skater, but she performed poorly at the U.S. Championships in Boston, and many thought she would be replaced on the Olympic team by Mirai Nagasu. Instead, the U.S. figure skating committee recognized her accomplishments since the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and selected her. Wagner says her background as the daughter of a military officer gave her the discipline that carries over into all aspects of her life.

Athletic Profile: Wagner, 22, won the U.S. Championships in 2012 and 2013, and she was considered the first lady of U.S. skating heading into the 2013 event. She won a gold medal at the Four Continents event in 2012, and she won a silver and a bronze at back-to-back Grand Prix Finals in 2012 and 2013. She also earned her first Olympic medal in the team figure skating—a bronze—in Sochi.

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Image: Wagner may be to the 2014 Winter Olympics what U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney was to the 2012 Summer Olympics. Maroney is remembered for her "not impressed" look that became an iconic meme, while Wagner made her own not impressed face after her score went up following her skate in the team event. Wagner was happy with her performance. She was not thrilled with the judges' evaluation of it.

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Off the Ice: On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Wagner was in shock like many Americans. However, her fear and panic was quite personal. Her father was in the Pentagon at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Fortunately, he was safe. Wagner grew up as an army kid, and she credits that military background with her discipline on the ice. Before she reached her current heights in figure skating, she supported herself by working at a clothing store to pay rent and pinched pennies by eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Social Media: Wagner has a Twitter account with more than 56,000 followers. Her Facebook page has received more than 4,100 likes, and her Instagram page has over 32,000 followers.

Quote: "I love to win, honestly. ... If you love to win, you should say it. And honestly, I'm hooked on it." — Ashley Wagner on her competitive nature (via NBC News.)