SAN JOSE, CALIF. (USA TODAY) - There will be no surprises this year.
The U.S. women’s Olympic figure skating team is set: Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen.
Unlike four years ago, when U.S. Figure Skating’s international committee chose to replace Nagasu with Ashley Wagner, the committee went by the order of the national championships, picking the first three finishers in the women’s competition at the 2018 nationals.
This means that the women’s team in Pyeongchang next month will be entirely different from the team that competed in Sochi four years ago: Wagner, Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds.
For most of the four years leading up to 2018, either Wagner or Gold, or both, were at the top of the sport domestically.
Each of the three women to make the team is something of a surprise. Tennell, 19, rose to prominence as recently as Thanksgiving weekend when she finished a surprising third at Skate America.
That was the same competition Wagner, who finished fourth here, suddenly withdrew with an ankle infection.
Nagasu, 24, had an uneven fall season, but her attempts to land the difficult triple axel renewed her career. She won her only national title 10 years ago, in 2008. She finished fourth at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Chen, 18, also overcame a disappointing fall season. She won the 2017 national title and finished fourth at the worlds in Helsinki, helping to secure three spots for the U.S. women at the 2018 Olympics.
Wagner, 26, the only U.S. woman to win a world championship medal in the past 11 seasons (silver in 2016), was named the first alternate.
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