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Ashley Wagner finishes second at Skate Canada; Grand Prix analysis

Ashley Wagner

Ashley Wagner, of the United States, waves to the crowd following her skate during the ladies short program at Skate Canada International in Kelowna, British Columbia, Friday, Oct., 31, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)


Ashley Wagner didn’t impress at the 2014 U.S. Championships, Olympics and World Championships, but she remains the top U.S. woman in Grand Prix competition.

Wagner took second at Skate Canada, behind Russian Anna Pogorilaya in Kelowna, British Columbia, on Saturday night. Pogorilaya, the leader after the short program, won with 191.81 points. Wagner had 186, keeping her runner-up spot from the short program with two under-rotated jumps and no triple-triple combination in her free skate (video here).

Pogorilaya’s clean free skate made it four straight top-level events in which the top active finisher was a different Russian. Adelina Sotnikova won the Olympics, Yulia Lipnitskaya won the World Championships silver medal (behind Mao Asada, who is not competing this season) and Yelena Radionova won Skate America last week.

Pogorilaya didn’t make the Russian Olympic team and was fourth at the World Championships.

Wagner was fourth at the 2014 U.S. Championships but made the three-woman U.S. Olympic team in part due to her strong international results -- unrivaled among Americans -- the past few years.

Wagner has finished first or second at Grand Prix series events six times since 2012. Other U.S. women have done so a combined two times. Wagner has made a Grand Prix podium each of the last six seasons.

Wagner was beaten by Gracie Gold at last season’s U.S. Championships, Olympics and Worlds. Wagner was seventh at the Olympics and Worlds.

But Wagner’s total score at Skate Canada was 6.62 points better than Gold at Skate America last week. The other U.S. Olympian, Polina Edmunds, makes her Grand Prix debut at Cup of China next week.

Wagner, Gold and Edmunds appear the early favorites for January’s U.S. Championships. Three women will make the team for the World Championships in March.

Pogorilaya’s win marks the first time since 2003 that one nation swept the first two Grand Prix women’s events. In 2003, American Sasha Cohen prevailed at Skate America and Skate Canada. In 2002, Michelle Kwan won Skate America, and Cohen won Skate Canada.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Skate Canada coverage Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m. ET.

Skate Canada women’s results
1. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) -- 191.81
2. Ashley Wagner (USA) -- 186
3. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) -- 181.75
4. Courtney Hicks (USA) -- 174.51

Leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Elena Radionova (RUS) -- 195.47 (Skate America)
2. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) -- 191.81 (Skate Canada)
3. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) -- 189.62 (Skate America)
4. Ashley Wagner (USA) -- 186 (Skate Canada)
5. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) -- 181.75 (Skate Canada)
6. Gracie Gold (USA) -- 179.38 (Skate America)
Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova to debut at Rostelecom Cup in two weeks. World silver medalist Yulia Lipnitskaya to debut at Cup of China next week.

U.S. leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Ashley Wagner (USA) -- 186 (Skate Canada)
2. Gracie Gold (USA) -- 179.38 (Skate America)
3. Samantha Cesario (USA) -- 174.58 (Skate America)
4. Courtney Hicks (USA) -- 174.51 (Skate Canada)
5. Mirai Nagasu (USA) -- 158.21 (Skate America)
U.S. Olympian Polina Edmunds to debut at Cup of China.

Alpine skiers beaten out for Austria Sportsman of the Year award

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