The Japanese skating celebrity came to Detroit with a more mature short program and a difficult free skate that, despite a fall on her triple Axel, won the gold medal.
Ashley Wagner says her military upbringing has helped her attitude regarding the triple-triple, an intimidating yet necessary requirement for any skater who wants to be taken seriously.
Jason Brown, who found out two weeks ago he would replace Olympic defending champion Evan Lysacek in Skate America, finished second in the men's short program. American Adam Rippon was third.
U.S. skaters Charlie White and Meryl Davis are among the favorites to win gold at the Sochi Olympics and a lot of the credit belongs to their moms, Jacqui White and Cheryl Davis, who are the antithesis of overbearing skating parents.