By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Sports Editor
It would appear that Mirai Nagasu is still feeling the sting and disappointment of being passed over for a spot on the team that will represent the United States beginning this week at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
On Thursday, the 20-year-old figure skater from Arcadia posted a frank and heartfelt message on her Facebook page, thanking supporters and expressing her continued confusion over why she was not chosen to join the team in Sochi, Russia.
Calling the decision of U.S. Figure Skating officials “devastating,” she said she remains confused over why the body chose to send Ashley Wagner, who finished fourth at the U.S. Championships last month, when Nagasu finished a solid third.
The governing body cited Wagner’s strong performances of the past year and a half, as well as national titles in 2012 and 2013, but the choice was met with widespread criticism and questions about image, Wagner’s role in the months of TV promotion in the event and even questions over race.
A USFSA official responded to a commentary in The Wall Street Journal, saying, “U.S. Figure Skating firmly believes in equality,” adding that more than 25 percent of the Olympic figure skating team is of Asian ancestry.
The official has not yet responded to Rafu questions concerning any influence on the decision related to Wagner’s participation in ads for NBC, the network that will televise the games in the U.S.
Nearly 300 people posted comments of support for Nagasu after she issued her statement, joining the hundreds more who posted well wishes following the championships in Boston. One wrote, “Don’t let the decision [regarding the]Olympics in any way undermine the fact that you came back on your own and won the bronze medal at National Championships. You should be very proud!”
Below is the compete text of Nagasu’s Facebook post:
“I want to take this moment to thank everyone, fellow skaters and fans of the sport, who have reached out to me to offer support after the U.S. Championships. Not being chosen to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Sochi and at the 2014 World Championships in Japan has been extremely disappointing to me, and it has been very difficult for me to process.
“I know that I performed my best at the U.S. Championships in Boston. I am proud of the way I skated and of being awarded the bronze medal.
“The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver was one of the best experiences of my life and I am proud that I finished in fourth place. For the past four years, my goal had been to make the Olympic team again and pick up where I left off.
“Not being selected to this year’s team was devastating and I remain confused by U.S. Figure Skating’s decision to not select me for the 2014 Olympic or World teams. Once I have time to fully process the impact of these decisions, I do know it will renew a fire inside of me.
“My Olympic journey does not end here. I will continue to work hard, to train and grow and improve as a skater and realize my dream of once again representing the United States at an Olympic Games. In the immediate, I will jump back into my training in the event that I should be needed in my role as alternate for the Olympics or World Championships.
“Most importantly, I want to wish Gracie [Gold], Polina [Edmunds], Ashley and the rest of the U.S. Team the best of luck at the 2014 Olympic Games. Representing your country at the Olympics is one of the biggest honors and best experiences in an athlete’s life, and I hope they all do well and have a great time. I will be watching and cheering them on.”