Figure Skater Snubbed From Olympic Team Despite Silver Medal Win - NBC 6 South Florida
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Figure Skater Snubbed From Olympic Team Despite Silver Medal Win

"I could not have skated better," Ross Miner told NBC 10 Boston

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Silver Medal Skater Left Off Olympic Team

    Unlike other sports, a medal at nationals does not guarantee a spot on the Olympic team. For figure skating, a nine-member International Committee Management Subcommittee consisting of officials, coaches and athletes selects skaters based on an athlete's body of work in national and international competitions over the year.

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018)

    They were the routines of a lifetime — a short program and a free program that Massachusetts resident Ross Miner had always dreamed about, especially in an Olympic year.

    "I could not have skated better," Miner told NBC 10 Boston.

    And when it was over, he finished second, earning a silver medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships over the weekend.

    "My goal was just to get off the ice knowing I had left it all on the table," Miner said in his first interview. "And that's exactly what I did. I really felt like I put it all on the line when it counted."

    But the joy would be short-lived when officials from U.S. Figure Skating, the sport's governing body, replaced Miner with Adam Rippon, who had finished in fourth place at the competition. Rippon is the first openly gay U.S. athlete to ever qualify for the Winter Olympics, NBC News reported.

    Unlike other sports, a medal at nationals does not guarantee a spot on the Olympic team. For figure skating, a nine-member International Committee Management Subcommittee consisting of officials, coaches and athletes selects skaters based on an athlete's body of work in national and international competitions over the year.

    "They send you a text message saying 'Hey, you've been selected as an alternate,'" said Miner. "It's like, 'Ah, damn, I really thought I had a good shot of being on the Olympic team.'"

    The Watertown resident says he doesn't know why he was left off the team, but he suggested it may have been political.

    "I wasn't on the billboards, I wasn't on the street signs for this championship, and I think knowing that going in, it makes it a little bit harder to be selected to the team," said Miner. "If it's a sport, then it should be a sport and not a back-room deal."

    The 26-year-old has been skating since he was 2 years old. Competing in the Olympics is his ultimate goal, one that appeared to be almost certain after winning second place at the national championship event.

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    (Published Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018)

    "That moment, finishing my free program, the crowd on their feet... I get chills thinking about it," said Miner. "I know I'm going to have that feeling with me for the rest of my life. And nothing can take that away."

    For now, Miner says he will continue to train and coach.

    But he hasn't made any decisions about whether he'll compete again.

    He says he does want to get more involved in the selection process so future skaters aren't in the same position down the road and kept home from the Olympics.

    "I'll still be watching, cheering on my teammates," said Miner. "They're good guys and I want them to do well, but it's going to be a little harder to watch this year."

    More than 3,000 people have already added their names to an online petition asking that Miner be placed on the Olympic team.

    Will Team USA Compete in the 2018 Winter Games?

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    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley recently said it was an "open question" if U.S. athletes would compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics because of concerns over North Korea. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to comment.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017)