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Tennell, Nagasu, Chen named to Olympic team

Nagasu to compete at second Winter Games; Wagner left off squad
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Mirai Nagasu (left), Bradie Tennell (middle) and Karen Chen will represent the U.S. at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. -courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating

Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen were named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic team in a live announcement on the TODAY show Saturday morning.

Tennell, Nagasu and Chen finished 1-2-3 in the ladies competition Friday night at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.

The team was determined by the U.S. Figure Skating International Committee Management Subcommittee (ICMS) using a specified list of criteria, the most important of which was a skater's finish at the 2018 U.S. Championships, 2017 Grand Prix Final (no U.S. lady qualified for the event) and 2017 World Figure Skating Championships.

While Tennell and Nagasu appeared to be locks to make the team -- they finished 21 and 15 points ahead of Chen, respectively, in San Jose -- there was some question over whether Chen would. She beat fourth-place finisher Ashley Wagner, who has a more impressive career résumé than Chen, by only 2.4 points, and Wagner defeated Chen in the free skate (130.25 to 129.11) at the U.S. championships. But Chen's third-place finish Friday, coupled with her fourth-place showing at 2017 worlds (where Wager placed seventh), were enough to convince the ICMS to put her on the team.

Wagner made the 2014 Olympic team in a somewhat controversial decision. She finished fourth at that year's U.S. championships but was put on the team over Nagasu, who came in third, because her recent track record was stronger than Nagasu's.

Wagner was named first alternate to the 2018 Olympic team. Mariah Bell is second alternate, and Angela Wang is third.

Nagasu will be making her second trip to the Olympics; she competed at the Vancouver Games in 2010, finishing fourth. This will be the first Olympic appearance for Tennell and Chen.

The 2018 Olympic Games take place Feb. 9-25 in PyeongChang, South Korea.