BOSTON -- The U.S. Figure Skating Association, overlooking the results of its own national championships, ignoring tradition, and inviting second-guesses at Sochi next month, selected Ashley Wagner Sunday as one of three women who will represent the nation at the Winter Olympics.
The decision to name Wagner, who turned in two subpar performances at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and wound up fourth, cost third-place finisher Mirai Nagasu a spot.
The snub was historic. It is unusual for top finishers at the championships to not be named to the Olympic team and replaced. In at least four previous instances, it has occurred only because of an injury to top skaters such as Nancy Kerrigan, Todd Eldredge, and Michelle Kwan.
Wagner, who formerly trained at the Skating Club of Wilmington, Del., and is a two-time national champion at 22, will be joined in Sochi by 2014 champ Gracie Gold and 15-year-old runner-up Polina Edmonds.
But it was the Wagner selection that was the focus of a noon news conference at TD Garden, during which the two Olympic pairs and three ice-dance teams also were revealed.
USFSA president Patricia St. Peter insisted the selection committee simply adhered to its own guidelines.
"This competition," she said, "is not the only event that U.S. Figure Skating considers in selecting its team. ... Looking at Ashley Wagner's record and performances, she's got the top credentials of any of our athletes."
Nagasu was not immediately available for comment.
Wagner, who spent an uneasy night fearing she might narrowly miss a second straight Olympic appearance, was notified via text message as she watched the warm-ups for Sunday's men's free skate.
"I was terrified that I was again going to be having regrets," she said, clutching a tear-soaked tissue. "I'm just so grateful that the federation managed to look past one poor performance."
Wagner admitted that she succumbed to nerves at nationals, both Saturday night and in 2010 when she finished third and only two women were chosen. Asked if the Olympic pressure wouldn't be even more intense, she said she didn't think so.
"It's a different type of pressure," she said. "At nationals the pressure was just overwhelming for me."
She fell in both her short and long programs and finished 29 points behind Gold.
The committee also chose to go with Edmonds, the 2013 junior champion who -- in her mother's native Russia -- will be making her first major international appearance as a senior.
"How many girls get to say that their first major international event was the Olympics?" Wagner said. "Not many."
According to the committee's guidelines, the results of the nationals, while significant, can be overlooked as a sole criteria to allow the United States to "select the best athletes."
In the other two disciplines whose teams were announced -- the two men will be named later Sunday -- the committee stuck by the finishes here.
The ice-dance team will be led by six-time national champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Also representing the United States will be Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Maia and Alex Shibutani.
In the pairs, 2012 U.S. champions Caydee Denny and John Coughlin finished third and were not chosen. The two teams in Sochi will be the winners and runners-up here -- Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, and Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay.
Wagner finished fifth at the most recent world championships and won the bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final. She had a first and second in two Grand Prix events and won at nationals last January.
Nagasu, 20, finished third and eighth in two Grand Prix events and was seventh at nationals last year. But she has skated in an Olympics, finishing a surprising fourth -- the best U.S. finish -- at Vancouver.
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