The notion that someone in their 20s could be “over the hill” is bizarre but, in the ultracompetitive world of figure skating, Ashley Wagner is nearing that (kind of preposterous) standard. But it didn’t stop her from making history Saturday.
The veteran figure skater did so by winning the U.S. Figure Skating Championship title — and while it’s her third, it’s arguably her most meaningful.
“This, of my three titles, this one tastes the sweetest. This is the one that means the most to me because this is the one that shows every single person that doubts me, every single person that says I’m too old, every single person that says I am not capable of being a leading lady,” she said.
And, really, how fantastic is that?
This year’s championship was held Saturday night in Greensboro, North Carolina, and was rife with talent, including Wagner and two other 2014 Olympians.
Thanks to a stunning routine, Gardner shut down the competition with a score of 221.02 — silver medalist Gracie Gold trailed by a considerable gap with 205.4.
Not only was Gardner’s score the highest score for a woman at a U.S. championships event, but it also made her the oldest figure skater to snag the championship title since Michelle Kwan — then 24 years old — in 2005.
The win marked a beautiful upswing for Wagner, who turned in a fourth-place performance last year at the U.S. Championships. (Still impressive to us!)
Combined with Wagner’s record-breaking score of 148.98 in Saturday’s free skate program and the highest score in Thursday night’s short program, this win makes it crystal clear that you just can’t put an age limit on true talent.
Or, as Wagner so eloquently put it, “This shows them that they need to shut their mouths and watch me skate.”
We can’t wait to see how this inspiring skater does at the world championship in Shangai this March.