Ashley Wagner

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Ashley Wagner
U.S. Championships Ladies FSVC - Ashley Wagner.jpg
Personal information
Country represented United States
Born (1991-05-16) May 16, 1991 (age 23)
Heidelberg, Germany
Residence Aliso Viejo, California
Height 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Coach John Nicks
Rafael Arutyunyan
Former coach Priscilla Hill
Shirley Hughes
Choreographer Shae-Lynn Bourne
David Wilson
Former choreographer Phillip Mills
Irina Romanova
Skating club SC of Wilmington
Training locations Aliso Viejo, California
Lake Arrowhead, California
Began skating 1996
World standing 4 (As of 21 May 2014)[1]
Season's bests 2 (2012–2013)[2]
1 (2011–2012)[3]
17 (2010–2011)[4]
16 (2009–2010)[5]
16 (2008–2009)[6]
ISU personal best scores
Combined total 194.37
2013 Bompard
Short program 69.26
2013 Skate America
Free skate 129.52
2014 Worlds

Ashley Wagner (born May 16, 1991) is an American figure skater. She is the 2012 Four Continents champion, the 2012 Grand Prix Final silver medalist, a gold medalist at three Grand Prix events (2012 Skate America; 2012 and 2013 Trophée Eric Bompard), and a two-time U.S. national champion (2012 and 2013).

Her highest World Championship placement is fourth in 2012. She was named to the U.S. team for the 2014 Winter Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the team event.

Personal life[edit]

Ashley Wagner is the first child and only daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Eric Wagner, U.S. Army (retired) and Melissa James, a former schoolteacher.[7] A military brat, Wagner was born on a U.S. Army Base in Heidelberg, Germany, where her father was stationed at the time. Her younger brother, Austin, attends Pratt Institute in New York; he also was a skater and competed on the national level.[7]

Because Wagner's father was in the military, her family moved seven times during her childhood; they settled in northern Virginia when she was ten years old.[8] Besides Germany, she has lived in California, Alaska, Kansas, Washington State, and Virginia. Wagner currently lives in southern California, but considers Seabeck, Washington her home.[9]

Wagner was home schooled by her mother for seven months before entering Whitman Middle School, returning to public school because she missed it.[10][11][12][13] She later attended West Potomac High School through the 2007/2008 school year. After studying at Northern Virginia Community College via its online Extended Learning Institute, she enrolled in Saddleback College.[14] She is studying sports journalism.[15] She speaks German in addition to English.[16]

Skating career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Wagner began skating at age five in Eagle River, Alaska. She says that her mother told her she could choose between ballet or figure skating, but she "wasn't going to do anything in pink shoes."[11] According to her mother, Wagner began to show promise early and won a gold medal at her first competition. In 1998, Wagner watched Tara Lipinski win the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics on television. From that moment, she decided that she wanted to compete in the Olympics too.[10][13]

Wagner later trained in Kansas City and Tacoma, Washington until her family moved to Portland, Oregon, where she was taught by Tonya Harding's former coach, Dody Teachman.[8] In January 2002, Wagner began training with Shirley Hughes in Alexandria, Virginia.[17][18] Jill Shipstad-Thomas choreographed her competitive programs.[11][12]

In the 2002–2003 season, Wagner qualified for the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships, which are the national championships of the United States for figure skaters at the juvenile and intermediate levels. Wagner placed 17th at the Intermediate level. The following season she tested up to the novice level. She won the silver medal at her regional competition,[19] the first step to qualifying for the national championships, but placed 10th at her sectional competition[20] and did not qualify for the 2004 National Championships.

Wagner qualified for her first U.S. Championships in the 2004–2005 season after placing first at both the Northwest Pacific Regionals and the Pacific Coast Sectionals.[21][22] Competing on the novice level, she placed seventh at Nationals.[10]

For the 2005–2006 season, Wagner moved up to the junior level. She won both the Northwest Pacific Regional and Pacific Coast Sectional competitions again to qualify for the National Championships.[23][24] At the 2006 U.S. Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri, Wagner finished fourth on the junior level, earning the pewter medal. After the event, Wagner was named to the U.S. team for the Triglav Trophy in Slovenia, her first major international competition and where she made her international junior debut. There she landed six triple jumps, including a triple toe-triple toe combination, in her long program to move up from third in the short program to first overall.[12]

In the 2006–2007 season, Wagner made her Junior Grand Prix debut. She won both the Junior Grand Prix event in Courchevel, France, and the event in The Hague, Netherlands. Her wins qualified her for the Junior Grand Prix Final in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she won the silver medal behind fellow American Caroline Zhang, with a final score of 142.01. At the 2007 U.S. Nationals in Spokane, Washington, Wagner placed third behind Mirai Nagasu and Caroline Zhang, earning herself a spot on the World Junior Championships team. Her bronze medal at the 2007 Nationals was the first time she had placed in the top three at the national championships.[11] At the 2007 Junior Worlds in Oberstdorf, Germany, she landed seven triple jumps in her long program and earned an overall personal best of 157.15. She finished with the bronze medal behind Zhang and Nagasu, completing the first-ever American sweep of the World Junior podium.[25]

2007–2008 season[edit]

Wagner moved up to the senior level both nationally and internationally for the 2007–2008 season. She made her senior international debut at the 2007 Skate Canada International in Quebec City, Quebec, where she placed fifth overall with a score of 150.06. Two weeks later, Wagner won her first senior international medal at the 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, France. She placed third behind reigning World silver medalist Mao Asada and reigning U.S. National Champion Kimmie Meissner with a score of 158.63. She finished second in the long program ahead of Meissner and only lost to Meissner in the final standings by 0.11 points. During her fall Grand Prix events, Wagner attempted the triple Lutz-triple loop combination for the first time in competition, but it was downgraded by the technical callers because her attempts were not fully rotated. Discussing her first year on the Grand Prix, Wagner said, "Competing on the Grand Prix has forced my skating to mature. I'm a senior lady now, and I need to perform like one."[13]

In January 2008, Wagner competed on the senior level for the first time at the 2008 U.S. Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota. She placed second in the short program behind Mirai Nagasu after landing a triple Lutz-triple loop combination.[26][27] In the free skate, she placed second again, this time behind Rachael Flatt, after landing seven triples including another triple Lutz-triple loop combination. She finished with the bronze medal overall behind Nagasu and Flatt. Because Nagasu, Flatt, and pewter-medalist Caroline Zhang were too young to compete at an ISU Senior Championship event, Wagner was the only medal winner to be named to the Four Continents and World Championships teams.[28] Because of her third place finish at the 2008 Nationals, Wagner earned a bye to the 2009 U.S. Nationals.

At the 2008 Four Continents in Goyang, South Korea, Wagner finished twelfth in the short program (47.29), fifth in the free skate (105.17), and eighth overall with a final score of 152.46.[29][30]

At the 2008 World Championships in Goteburg, Sweden, Wagner finished sixteenth with a final score of 137.40. She finished eleventh in the short program (51.49) and fifteenth in the long program (85.91). She fell once in her free skate.[31]

In June 2008, Wagner announced that she would be leaving her longtime coach Shirley Hughes to begin working with Priscilla Hill in Wilmington, Delaware.[17]

2008–2009 season[edit]

Wagner won the bronze medal at the 2009 NHK Trophy.

For the 2008–2009 Grand Prix of figure skating season, Wagner was assigned to compete at 2008 Cup of China where she finished fourth. Her next event was the 2008 NHK Trophy, where she again finished fourth. In the process she set new personal bests in the short program and her combined score.

She won the pewter medal at the 2009 U.S. Nationals and represented the United States at the 2009 Junior Worlds in Sofia, Bulgaria where she placed third.

2009–2010 season[edit]

For the 2009–2010 Grand Prix of figure skating season, Wagner was assigned to compete at the 2009 Rostelecom Cup, at that event she won the silver medal. In the process she set new personal best scores in her long program and her combined score. She won the bronze medal at the 2009 NHK Trophy, and qualified for the 2009-2010 Grand Prix Final. At the 2009-2010 Grand Prix Final, Wagner finished in last position after the short program with 54.26 points. She turned in a solid performance in the free skate to earn 107.81 points and place fourth. Overall, she finished fourth with 162.07 points.

At the 2010 U.S. Nationals, Wagner won her second bronze medal. She was placed on the team to the 2010 Junior Worlds, but withdrew from the team before the event.[32]

Around this time Wagner started her own YouTube channel. She is also an avid user of Twitter and Facebook.

2010–2011 season[edit]

A racing heartbeat which had long bothered Wagner became more frequent during the summer before the 2010–11 season. She also began to suffer violent full-body muscle spasms which her coach Priscilla Hill said were "some of the most horrific things I've ever seen."[33] She saw a number of physicians who were unable to determine the cause. Finally, chiropractor and muscle specialist Steve Mathews revealed that tension in her neck muscles was causing one of her vertebrae to be pushed out of place, squeezing various nerves; a physical therapy program reduced the problems.[33]

Wagner had practiced her new long program only about six times before she competed at 2010 NHK Trophy where she finished 5th.[33] At 2010 Cup of Russia she won the bronze medal.

In June 2011, Wagner announced that she would move to Aliso Viejo, California to train with John Nicks and Phillip Mills at the Aliso Viejo Ice Palace.[18][34][35] She quit her part-time job at a jeans store and used some of the money she had been saving for college to move across the country.[36]

2011–2012 season[edit]

Wagner performs her free program at the 2012 Worlds.

Wagner began the 2011–12 season at the 2011 Skate Canada International. She placed second in the short program and third in the freeskate to win the bronze medal overall. At the 2011 NHK Trophy, Wagner placed fifth in the short program and third in the freeskate to finish 4th overall. At the 2012 U.S. Nationals, she ranked third in the short program. She was first in the free program and won her first national title.

After her U.S. Championship win, Wagner was assigned to both the 2012 Four Continents Championships and the 2012 World Championships. At Four Continents, she placed second in the short program after two-footing a planned triple flip-triple toe combination and successfully landing her triple loop and double axel. She placed first in a free skate which included six triples and won the gold medal ahead of two time world champion Mao Asada. Her scores at the Four Continents event were the highest overall for a world lady all season and her free program score was the second highest of the season behind Carolina Kostner's gold medal winning free skate at the 2012 World Championships. At the World Championships, Wagner was eighth in the short program after stepping out of her triple flip. She placed third in the free skate with a seven triple program, and 4th overall, thus securing two spots for U.S. ladies at the 2013 Worlds.

2012–2013 season[edit]

At her first Grand Prix assignment of the season, the 2012 Skate America, Wagner placed first in both programs and won her first gold on the GP series. At the 2012 Trophee Eric Bompard, she was second in the short and first in the long and won her second GP title, qualifying for the 2012 Grand Prix Final. In a November 2012 interview, Wagner said, "Nicks changed my technique a little bit but not a ton. [...] The mental aspect of my training is where he really has helped me because confidence leads to consistency under pressure."[37]

At the Grand Prix Final in December, Wagner placed second in the short. A pair of hard falls during the free skate injured her left hip (hip pointer) and bruised her right knee but she was able to complete the program and finished fourth in the segment.[38] In the overall standings, she finished with the silver medal, just ahead of Japan's Akiko Suzuki. At the 2013 U.S. Championships, Wagner placed first in the short program, second in the free skate after falling twice and two-footing her salchow jump, and was able to edge out Gracie Gold to win her second straight national title. She was the first U.S. ladies' single skater to win consecutive national titles since Michelle Kwan in 2005.

Wagner's luggage with her skates was lost on her way to the 2013 World Championships but arrived before the evening practice on March 12.[39] She placed fifth at Worlds, while her teammate, Gracie Gold, placed sixth.[40] With these placements, they gained three spots for the Olympics and World Championships. Wagner placed second at the 2013 World Team Trophy and the United States won the event. One week later, Phillip Mills, her choreographer, announced that he had given Wagner his resignation.[41] On April 24, John Nicks said he would no longer travel but would still coach Wagner at the Aliso Viejo Ice Palace.[42][43] On June 25, Wagner said she would also train in Lake Arrowhead, California with Rafael Arutyunyan, who would accompany her to competitions.[44]

2013–2014 season[edit]

In the 2013–14 ISU Grand Prix season, Wagner won silver at her first event, the 2013 Skate America. Her next assignment was the 2013 Trophée Eric Bompard where she won gold and qualified for the 2013–14 Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan. Wagner won bronze at the final behind Yulia Lipnitskaya after placing third in both segments. After both a poor short program where she finished 4th, falling twice and only landing four triples during the free program, Wagner finished fourth at the 2014 U.S. Championships.[45] Despite the result, she was named to the U.S. team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, due to her strong international record, which is considered under the selection criteria.[46] Following the U.S. Championships, she also announced her return to her Samson and Delilah free program.[47] She won a team bronze medal at the Olympics.[16]

Skating technique[edit]

Unlike most skaters, Wagner spins and jumps clockwise.


In November 2012, Nike began sponsoring Wagner.[48][49] In December, she became one of Pandora Jewelry's style ambassadors.[50] In October 2013, Wagner was named as a face of CoverGirl.[51][52]


Wagner performs her free skate at the 2012–2013 Grand Prix Final.
Wagner performs her short program at the 2012–2013 Grand Prix Final.
Wagner performs her exhibition Fever at the 2008 NHK Trophy.
Season Short program Free skating Exhibition





Competitive highlights[edit]


Event 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
Olympics 7th
Worlds 16th 4th 5th 7th
Four Continents 8th 1st
Grand Prix Final 4th 2nd 3rd
GP Bompard 3rd 1st 1st TBD
GP Cup of China 4th
GP NHK Trophy 4th 3rd 5th 4th
GP Rostelecom 2nd 3rd
GP Skate Canada 5th 3rd TBD
GP Skate America 1st 2nd
International: Junior[63]
Junior Worlds 3rd 3rd
JGP Final 2nd
JGP France 1st
JGP Netherlands 1st
Triglav Trophy 1st J.
U.S. Champ. 4th J. 3rd J. 3rd 4th 3rd 6th 1st 1st 4th
Pacific Coast Sect. 1st J.
NWP Regionals 1st J.
Team events[64]
Olympics 3rd T
(4th P)
World Team 2nd T
(3rd P)
1st T
(2nd P)
Japan Open 2nd T
(1st P)
2nd T
(3rd P)
J. = Junior level; GP = Grand Prix; JGP = Junior Grand Prix;
T = Team result; P = Personal result; Medals awarded for team result only.
NWP = Northwest Pacific


National or North American[58]
Event 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05
U.S. Champ. 7th N.
U.S. Jr. Champ. 17th I.
NA Challenge 5th N.
Pacific Coast Sect. 10th N. 1st N.
NWP Regionals 2nd Jv. 2nd I. 2nd N. 1st N.
Levels: Jv. = Juvenile; I. = Intermediate; N. = Novice
NWP = Northwest Pacific

Detailed results[edit]

Wagner at the 2012-2013 GP Final medal ceremony
Wagner at the 2011 Skate Canada medal ceremony
Wagner at the 2009 NHK Trophy medal ceremony

(Small medals for short and free programs awarded only at ISU Championships. Pewter medals for fourth-place finishes awarded only at U.S. national and regional events.)

2014–2015 season
Date Event SP FS Total
November 21-23, 2014 2014 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard -
October 31-November 2, 2014 2014 Skate Canada International -
2013–2014 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 24–30, 2014 2014 World Championships 7
February 20–21, 2014 2014 Winter Olympic Games 6
January 9–11, 2014 2014 U.S. Championships 4
December 5–8, 2013 2013–14 Grand Prix Final 3
November 15–17, 2013 2013 Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard 1
October 18–20, 2013 2013 Grand Prix Skate America 2
2012–2013 season
Date Event SP FS Total
April 11–14, 2013 2013 World Team Trophy 4
March 11–17, 2013 2013 World Championships 5
January 19–27, 2013 2013 U.S. Championships 1
December 6–9, 2012 2012–13 Grand Prix Final 2
November 16–18, 2012 2012 Trophée Eric Bompard 2
October 19–21, 2012 2012 Skate America 1
2011–2012 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 26 – April 1, 2012 2012 World Championships 8
February 7–12, 2012 2012 Four Continents Championships 2
January 22–29, 2012 2012 U.S. Championships 3
November 11–13, 2011 2011 NHK Trophy 5
October 27–30, 2011 2011 Skate Canada 2
2010–2011 season
Date Event SP FS Total
January 22–30, 2011 2011 U.S. Championships 7
November 19–21, 2010 2010 Cup of Russia 3
October 22–24, 2010 2010 NHK Trophy 4
2009–2010 season
Date Event SP FS Total
January 14–24, 2010 2010 U.S. Championships 4
December 3–6, 2009 2009–10 Grand Prix Final 6
November 5–8, 2009 2009 NHK Trophy 1
October 22–25, 2009 2009 Cup of Russia 5
2008–2009 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
Feb. 23 – March 1, 2009 2009 World Junior Championships Junior 2
January 18–25, 2009 2009 U.S. Championships Senior 12
November 27–30, 2008 2008 NHK Trophy Senior 2
November 5–9, 2008 2008 Cup of China Senior 4
2007–2008 season
Date Event Levels SP FS Total
March 17–23, 2008 2008 World Championships Senior 11
February 11–17, 2008 2008 Four Continents Championships Senior 12
January 20–27, 2008 2008 U.S. Championships Senior 2
November 15–18, 2007 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard Senior 5
November 1–4, 2007 2007 Skate Canada International Senior 8
2006–2007 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
Feb. 26 – March 4, 2007 2007 World Junior Championships Junior 3
January 21–28, 2007 2007 U.S. Championships Junior 4
December 7–10, 2006 2006–07 Junior Grand Prix Final Junior 3
October 5–7, 2006 2006 Junior Grand Prix, Netherlands Junior 4
August 23–26, 2006 2006 Junior Grand Prix, France Junior 1
2005–2006 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
April 12–16, 2006 2006 Triglav Trophy Junior 3
January 7–15, 2006 2006 U.S. Championships Junior 2
November 15–19, 2005 2006 Pacific Coast Sectionals Junior 1
October 19–22, 2005 2006 Northwest Pacific Regionals Junior 1 1 1
2004–2005 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
January 9–16, 2005 2005 U.S. Championships Novice 8 5 7
November 11–13, 2004 2005 Pacific Coast Sectionals Novice 2 1 1
October 19–23, 2004 2005 Northwest Pacific Regionals Novice 1 1 1
2003–2004 season
Date Event Level QR SP FS Total
November 11–15, 2003 2004 Pacific Coast Sectionals Novice 11 10 10
October 14–18, 2003 2004 Northwest Pacific Regionals Novice 2 3 2 2
  • QR = Qualifying round


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External links[edit]