Hate tweets force U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner off social media until after Olympics

01/14/2014 10:54 AM

01/14/2014 11:35 AM

She became the skater that people started to hate over the weekend after she was shockingly named to the U.S. Olympic team. Now Ashley Wagner has sworn off social media until after the Olympics to avoid any more firestorm.

Wagner was named to the third spot on the Olympic team after falling twice and placing fourth at the U.S. national championships Saturday night.

Fans of fellow skater Mirai Nagasu, who placed third at the competition, were furious that Wagner grabbed the last spot on the three-woman team that will compete in Sochi.

They headed straight to Twitter to complain on behalf of Nagasu, 20, who placed fourth at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Their beef: The national championships are traditionally used to determine the Olympic team. In fact, some media outlets reported that U.S. figure skating officials had never ignored the results of the national competition in picking the team, except when someone got injured.

After seeing the hate flowing her way, Wagner, 22, told People magazine that she has “officially decided to give up social media” until after the Sochi games.

"Twitter is a blessing and a curse at the same time," she told the mag. "It's tough to filter out the good things that you hear and the awful things that people will write, so I'm going cold turkey."

U.S. skating officials chose Wagner based on her wins at international competitions in recent years. Defending their decision, Pat St. Peter, president of the U.S. Figure Skating Association, said the national championships are not the Olympic qualifiers.

“If you look at Ashley Wagner’s record and performance, she’s got the top credentials of any of our female athletes,” St. Peter said.

Wagner will compete in Sochi with fellow U.S. skaters Gracie Gold, 18, and Polina Edmunds, who is 15.

Coincidentally, the Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal happened 20 years ago, as they prepared for the 1994 Olympics.

On Jan. 6, 1994, Shane Stant attacked Nancy Kerrigan on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, taking a baton to Kerrigan’s right leg after she completed a practice round at Cobo Arena.

The ensuing investigation into the assault would lead police to a man named Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival Harding, and Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt.

Kerrigan’s injuries kept her out of the U.S. Championships. But she returned to the ice in February for the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where she won the silver medal.

The aftermath didn’t play out well for Harding. She finished eighth in the ‘94 Olympics and later pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers — though she still maintains that she had no knowledge of the attack


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