The ladies' podium at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships was perhaps the most difficult to stand on in the history of the event. Each medalist attempted a triple-triple combination in both the short and long programs, but only one was age-eligible to compete at the World Championships in Sweden. Ashley Wagner, who was 16 at the time, won the bronze medal at her first try at the senior level at the national championships.
Wagner, who won silver at the 2006-07 Junior Grand Prix Final, began last season with an impressive debut on the senior Grand Prix circuit. She placed fifth at Skate Canada, and then followed up with a bronze at Trophée Eric Bompard two weeks later.
But after the high of making the World Team, Wagner quickly came back down to earth with a disappointing placement at the Four Continents Championships. Suddenly, Wagner was not receiving full credit for her jumps, often being penalized for using the the wrong take-off edge on her Lutz jump.
"I was sixteen years old and at the World Championships," gushed Wagner. "It was such an incredible feeling, and I was honored to represent my country. I wasn't happy with my placement, but that was only because I knew I had the potential to place better than I did."