SOCHI, Russia -- American Ashley Wagner gave a less than impressive performance at nationals in January. In her short program warm ups on Saturday at Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, she stumbled with one of her jumps.
But when she had to perform when it counted, Wagner gave a solid performance devoid of any technical flaws to finish fourth (63.10 total segment score) in the women's short program portion of the team figure skating competition.
Wagner finished behind 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia (72.90) and top-ranked Carolina Kostner of Italy (70.84). Japanese star and medal-favorite Mao Asada (64.07) placed third despite falling on an early jump.
It was an important rebound for Wagner. The 22-year-old converted all of her jumps, and seemed to perform with general comfort. Before starting her performance, Wagner looked attentive but slightly nervous talking to her coach, but she was successful in overcoming any jitters that may have come with her somewhat controversial inclusion to the U.S. team.
Wagner, who is ranked No. 4 in ISU World Standings, was selected ahead of 20-year-old Mirai Nagasu despite finishing behind Nagasu at nationals. Wagner’s addition to the squad was mainly due to her strong international record.
Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond finished fifth (62.54) in the 10-skater competition. The 18-year-old looked particularly poised in her routine, completing all of her jumps with relative ease.
By finishing fourth, Wagner added seven points to the American’s team total. The U.S. is currently in third with 27 points, after four of the eight events in team competition. Russia remains in first place with 37 points, followed by Canada with 32. Japan is fourth with 24 points.
Team competition continues on Sunday with the free skate portion.
Bobby Ilich contributed to this report.