Ashley Wagner skating to Moulin Rouge at the 2015 U.S. National…wait…just kidding. Ashley at the last week’s Japan Open, skating the same long program she used last season:
The red hair is new and there are also a bunch of new transitions, which I loved. But the program is the same one.
Typically, figure skaters have a brand new short program and long program each season. Sometimes skaters will keep a program for a second season if they were unable to perform it at many events, whether that was because of an injury, mid-season program change, or recovery in a post-Olympic season, etc. I hadn’t realized that Ashley was keeping last year’s long program until I checked out Jackie Wong’s Japan Open coverage, and it seems like I’m way behind the times. The Worlds 2016 Twitter account had this info in May:
And Jackie had it in his program music preview in July. Nobody seems to know any rationale behind the decision, besides some murmurings on this thread on the Golden Skate forum. I’ll definitely be interested to hear why she kept this program (Maybe in this month’s cover story of Skating magazine featuring Ashley and Adam Rippon? Which I am eagerly awaiting in my mailbox.).
I think it is a strong character and powerful music that clearly inspires her, so it’s a good decision from that perspective. And she has continued to develop and make changes to the program, so it is not as though it is totally stagnant. And we have seen before how much more calm and confident Ashley is when skating a program she loves: when she switched back to the fan favorite Samson and Delilah in the middle of the Olympic season when her Romeo and Juliet program wasn’t working. Say what you will about her not winning a medal at the Olympics or Worlds that year, but the skating itself was vastly improved when she switched back to the program she loved and, in particular, a strong and powerful piece of music. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a good decision for her mental approach. Time will tell if the fans get bored by it.