In an exclusive interview Saturday, TODAY announced that Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen were chosen to represent U.S. women’s figuring skating at this year’s Winter Olympics.
The elite athletes will skate for a team gold next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Eah of them received the exciting news via a life-changing text message, before their first public appearance as a team.
In 2014, Wagner secured a spot on the Olympic team over Nagasu, who finished in third place. “I really took time to remodel myself because I didn’t want to feel that regret again,” Nagasu told TODAY of her redemptive moment. “This has been a journey for me.”
Nagasu, 24, made the Olympic team in 2010 and placed fourth at those Winter Games.
Tennell, an Illinois native who began skating when she was 2 years old, entered the nationals with the two highest scores among the American competitors this season. She polished off her resume for the selection committee with an impeccable performance Friday night.
In pairs, married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim will fill the United States, only slot. On Saturday, the duo won their second national title in wha is generally considered the nation’s weakest figure skating discipline.
On the women's side, three-time U.S. champ Ashley Wagner, who complained vigorously about her marks, finished fourth at the national championships. Although she verbally campaigned to be placed on the Olympic team, she wasn't chosen.
Instead, she was named as the first alternat.