Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

She was the alternate for the U.S. Olympic figure skating team in 2010, but now it’s ASHLEY WAGNER'S time to shine.


Ashley Wagner is on a mission to get ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The 22-year-old figure skater has found a new coach and is working with choreographers on two new programs this season. Wagner is the two-time reigning U.S. national champion and the first woman since ­Michelle Kwan to win back to back titles in the sport. Last year, she helped earn the third spot for the United States women’s Olympic team with a strong perform­ance at the World Championships. She claims to be the biggest tomboy and quite clumsy off the ice, but you wouldn’t know it from her on-ice poise and charisma. Those in skating circles know her as “Diva Wagner,” and she’s ready to take the Olympics by storm.

AMERICAN WAY: How are you preparing for the Olympic season?
Ashley Wagner: This season, I’ve already made some pretty big changes. I’m working with Rafael Arutyunyan; I wanted a coach who is a technician. In order to be competitive, I need a triple-triple combination in my program. Olympic year is the year that you can’t leave anything on the table.

AW: Which triple-triple should we be looking for?

GETTING TO KNOW
Ashley Wagner

Want to know more about this talented ice skater? Here’s a look inside her routine on and off the rink:

SHORT PROGRAM: “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd
FREE SKATE: “Romeo & Juliet” by Sergei Prokofiev
NUMBER OF JUMPS IN HER FREE SKATE: Seven
GUILTY-PLEASURE FOOD: Pepperidge Farm soft-baked cookies
ON HER PLAYLIST: Beyoncé and Mumford & Sons
TWITTER: @AshWagner2010

Wagner: I’ve been working on a triple-flip-triple-toe and double-axel-triple-toe. I’ve spent more time on the triple-triple, so it will be in both programs. It’s worth more points.

AW: When will you do your triple-flip-triple-toe?
Wagner: It’ll be my first jumping pass. It’s a high-risk element and it takes a lot of energy, so it’s best to get it out there right away. I think it’ll be good for the judges and audiences to see that I’m really serious. It screams, “Here I am! Look at me,” and that’s really what I want to do this year.

AW: How do you go about designing your costumes?
Wagner: I go on Pinterest and look at all these gowns and high-fashion designs, and I bring Jan, my costume designer, tons of pictures. It’s a collaboration of my ideas and what she says is actually physically possible. Coming up with the design and color scheme is my favorite part of the entire program. It can make or break a program. When you step on the ice for something like “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” you can’t be in a raggedy plain Jane costume. When I’m on the ice for the five-minute warm-up, I want all eyes to be glued to me because my costume is so insanely gorgeous.

AW: Which side of Juliet will you be portraying in your “Romeo and Juliet” free skate?
Wagner: There have been so many typical ­“Romeo and Juliet” costumes where it’s a period costume. You have the puffy sleeves and lots of gold and really deep burgundy. I wanted to stay away from that. Juliet is a 13-year-old. My mother hates it when I say this, but I want to be the bedroom Juliet, where she has just woken up with Romeo and realizes how in love she is. That’s what I’m going for. That’s the story I’m trying to tell.

AW: What’s your pre-skate beauty routine?
Wagner: The lipstick really makes an outfit. I spend a decent amount of time getting a nice brown, smoky eye [blending of eye shadow around the eye], but lipstick is the one thing I have to get right. Beyond that, I get my hair poofed and get it in a bun and pray it stays put.

AW: Do you have a Sochi bucket list?
Wagner: I haven’t really figured out my approach to the whole Sochi thing. The one thing I’ve always dreamed of experiencing is the opening ceremonies. The entire world is watching, and you’re representing your country. That’s one of the coolest moments for an athlete. And I’d love to be able to go see Lindsey Vonn skiing or watch a hockey game.



To learn more about the Sochi Olympics, visit www.sochi2014.com