After Gracie Gold won her first national title in 2014 and captured the bronze medal in the team event at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, she faced her first major injury last season. She recovered in time for the 2015 World Championships and finished in fourth place. Gold gained momentum this season by capturing the silver at Skate America and the gold at Trophée Bombard but struggled at the Grand Prix Final, finishing off the podium in fifth place.
“Going into the [Grand Prix] Final I was completely physically prepared and I had done some mental training work, but when I got to the competition I just choked,” Gracie said on a media teleconference on Jan. 14. “No one really beat me I just beat myself.” Gold went on to explain that she began focusing on her competitors and allowed her competitive fight to dissipate. After having that experience at the Grand Prix Final Gracie believes that she has recaptured that fire and will not allow herself to shrink back. “No more doubles, I think I’ve really played that card too many times,” Gold confessed. “I really just want to do everything and go after it. No one’s going to take me down without a fight.”
Gracie Gold has not always come off as a fighter as she has been called “ice princess” in the past which is a term that she has learned to despise. “When I first heard people not so fondly call me ‘ice princess’ I didn’t know that that was a bad thing at first…. I was skating to Sleeping Beauty and I was an ice skater and everybody wants to be perfect—what could be wrong with being an ice princess?” Gold said. “Then I realized that it’s because they thought I was cold and frozen which really caught me off guard because I didn’t think of myself like that at all.” Since then Gracie has worked to be more transparent and deflect that kind of image.
Gold has a lot to worry about, besides her image, like her competitors which she has begun to size up. Russian Evgenia Medvedeva who stormed onto the senior stage this season has caused quite a stir, winning gold at Skate America, the silver at the Rostelecom Cup and culminating with capturing the gold at the Grand Prix Final. When asked during the teleconference what impressed Gracie the most about Evgenia, Gold replied: “She’s a great skater, she’s very um…actually I take that back, I think she’s a really good skater… I think that she’s beatable, but you know the other skaters we have to skate two clean programs when it matters…her consistency is very admirable.”
Though the “little Russians” as Gracie calls them, concern her at times she knows that will not always be the case. Gold made it clear that there is a strong possibility that she will not continue in her career past the 2018 season. “I will be 22 for the 2018 Olympics and hopefully, assuming that the rest of this season and next season and the 2018 season, assuming that all goes well and I reach my goals and expectations and I collect some medals and titles and I get an Olympic medal [at the Olympic Games] in 2018 as a team and singles I would probably retire… I would really like to start a different journey in my life,” Gracie said. “I think after 22, I would still like to do shows and I’d always like to be involved in skating whenever I can, but there are other things out there for me as well.”
With the Olympic Games still two years away, Gold now sets her sights on her next stepping stone, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships that begin next week. Gracie will not be the only member from the Gold family competing this year as her twin sister Carly will be making her Nationals debut. Gracie plans to watch her sister compete and is excited to go on this journey with her.
Last year Gold went into Nationals with only eighteen days to train after coming back from her foot injury, so this year Gracie is going in prepared, trained and ready to come in and fight for her spot on the top of the podium. “I want to put out two really strong performances and really set myself a part as the national champion with the best in the U.S.,” Gold said. “And of course I feel even more strongly about worlds this year because it’s in Boston, in the U.S. and so every point counts.”