Olympics notebook: Castelli, Shnapir clinch Olympics berth
BOSTON — Gracie Gold won her first U.S. figure skating title Saturday night and all but guaranteed herself a spot at the Olympics.
Still to be decided is who joins her in Sochi after two-time defending champ Ashley Wagner finished a distant fourth after a mistake-marred free skate.
Fifteen-year-old Polina Edmunds was second, and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu was third in a resurgent performance.
U.S. Figure Skating officials will announce Sunday which three women go to the Winter Games, taking into account past performances.
They will have a lot to think about.
“I felt like lead,” Wagner said. “I'm in shock that that's when I put out at nationals. I'm embarrassed that I get so much attention for the skater that I am and that's when I put out.”
Gold wasn't perfect, but she didn't need to be after building a big lead in the short program. She finished with 211.69 points to beat Edmunds by more than 18. Skating last, the 18-year-old Gold knew what she had accomplished before she even completed her program. After landing her last double axel, she pumped both fists.
Gold was second behind Wagner in 2013, and in the year since, she now connects with her music along with just landing the jumps.
Wexford native Leah Keiser finished 10th with 160.33 points.
Pair wins 2nd straight
Performing to a James Bond theme, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (wearing a mock shoulder holster) all but officially clinched a berth in the Sochi Olympics on Saturday by winning their second consecutive pairs title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Castelli and Shnapir weren't perfect.
She fell on their try to become the first pairs team at nationals to pull off a throw quadruple salchow (four rotations).
But their free skate was awarded 132.58 points. Added to their 73.13 points in winning the short program, that gave them 205.71 points for the event.
In Breckenridge, Colo., snowboarder Jamie Anderson held nothing back in a slopestyle qualifying run earlier in the week. She did the same arguing that the performance should count Saturday.
Race officials at the U.S. Grand Prix decided to cancel the snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle finals because of deteriorating snow conditions and dangerously high wind.
Anderson and some of the other riders in the field were hoping that qualifying runs would be taken into consideration to determine places and, along with it, points toward making the Olympic team.
But the jury decided that those runs wouldn't be used.