Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold performs at Rockefeller Center in New York on Jan. 14. Gold plans to leave for Sochi, Russia, on Saturday to begin her Olympics preparations. (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images / January 14, 2014)
With only a few days to go before she departs for Munich, the first stop on her journey to Sochi, Russia, and the Winter Olympics, figure skater Gracie Gold is still getting accustomed to the idea that she’s the U.S. champion and that she will contend for an individual medal — and possibly a medal in the new team event — next month.
“It’s just kind of surreal in a sense,” she said Wednesday during an interview at her training rink in El Segundo. “I’m just kind of on for the ride.” Gold, 18, was a resounding winner at the national championships a few weeks ago, emphatically earning her first Olympic berth. She earned a personal-best score of 72.12 points for her short program, which she had changed after getting some middling reviews for her previous routine, and she’s happy with it now.
Unlike rival Ashley Wagner, who finished fourth at the U.S. competition and decided to create a new long program in hopes of getting better results in Sochi, Gold isn’t planning any additional alterations to her routines. “No, I’m done changing. I’m good. I got it now,” Gold said. “Been there, done that.”
“Happy I did the first three [elements]. Little loss of focus on the flip. Mad that I lost focus and I do the next jumps,” said Gold, who moved from Illinois to Southern California in September to train with coach Frank Carroll. “Just kind of went in, did my job, got out.” Even she could find few things to criticize, except for an uncertain finish to a triple flip that forced her to fight to stay upright. “Little nuances there, a little bit more feeling here, a little bit more on a step or spin, the triple flip, obviously,” she said when asked what she’d like to improve. “I didn’t fall but I could have had a better landing.”
Gracie Gold is on her way to winning the gold for Team USA. The Olympic hopeful boarded a plane bound for Russia and she is looking to make a difference on the ice. The figure skating athlete is one of the first Team USA members to head to Sochi.
As Team USA leaves America for the journey to Russia, some athletes are leaving early so their bodies can adjust to the time zone changes. Unable to rush to Sochi at the last minute, the stars find it easier to gracefully arrive with a chance to acclimate and focus before their big event. Apparently Gracie Gold’s journey has her leaving early for a chance to be ready when it is her time to hit the ice.
E! News recently sat down with the 18-year-old figure skater ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and she revealed which A-list Hollywood hunk she's loving right now. "Ryan Gosling," Gold told us exclusively when asked about her star crush. "Didn't have to think about it." Gold also revealed which actress she would want to portray her in a movie about her Olympic career. "OK, who's the actress? I have trouble with her last name," she said, adding, "Chloë Grace [Moretz], she's in the new Carrie movie. I could pick her. That might be my final answer, with Dakota Fanning as my second choice."
When Gold isn't skating, she relaxes by watching her favorite reality TV shows. "I was very into America's Next Top Model," she said. "Especially a few years ago, that was my guilty pleasure. My mom just couldn't understand but I loved it. I do like Dance Moms, I do. I love it." As for her pre-competition routine? "I juggle," Gold said. "I can juggle quite well." Watch Gold prove her juggling skills in the video!
The U.S. skaters in the team event have yet to be announced. The way they will be determined recalls the way the Olympic Team was decided after the U.S. Championships earlier this month. If you recall that, there was a little bit of drama. The team event will begin the night before the Opening Ceremony (Thursday, Feb. 6) and wrap up two nights after the cauldron is lit (Sunday, Feb. 9).
The top-ranked skater(s) will get first choice of which program(s) they would like to enter. They could enter both programs, one program or no programs. Whatever’s left over goes to the second-ranked skater and then the third-ranked skater.
It is unknown what the specific ICMS rankings are. Gold won the U.S. Championship, but it’s not assured she’s ranked first. If Gold is ranked first, and women’s is one of the two disciplines able to sub out, she said she would prefer to skate one event and allow another woman to sub in.
“We talked it over, of course,” Gold said. “But it’s all trying to keep it super secret. We don’t want to share the USFS deep, dark secrets. But I think that it would be best, especially since it’s new, to probably split. So, just maybe do one program and let another lady step in. That way more people get to be on the team and experience it, and we don’t get too tired before the big [individual] competition starts.
“The long program is strong, and I’ve had a lot of really consistent runs with it. Competing is definitely easier for me once I get going, but the short program I am totally in love with. … Whichever one I’m selected for I’ll be very happy with.”
The wait for answers to some of these questions could be long. U.S. Figure Skating said the entries for the short program are due Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. Sochi time.
Figure skater Gracie Gold is being promoted as the American face of the Sochi Olympics. Here, Gold after winning the ladies competition at the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 11 in Boston.
Now that Lindsey Vonn is out of the Olympics, Gracie Gold has become America’s singular glamour athlete heading to Sochi. She is a Sports Illustrated cover subject this week, and NBC is promoting the figure skater as the face of these Games. The only question is: Can the 18-year-old upstart deliver the way that the veteran Vonn did four years ago in Vancouver?
“I’m packing this weekend suitcases to go to the Olympics — it’s unreal,” Gold said. “To walk in the opening ceremonies, I don’t think my heart could be bigger. The closer we get to Sochi, the more and more I want to be going for a medal. I think it’s a realistic goal, and we’ll see what happens.” “I remember a couple of years ago, I was watching my role models in the Olympics. And now to be that role model, it’s so wonderful,” Gold said. “You just remember why you do what you do. The passion in your sport is so important.”
Gold practices her routine for the 'Today' show on Jan. 14 at Rockefeller Center. The 18-year-old says preparing for the Sochi Olympics is 'unreal.'
Gold is ranked only 10th in the world by icenetwork.com, a long way from favored Mao Asada of Japan. But she can pull off triple-triple combinations, which is a requisite for any legitimate contender. “I’ve learned that not everything has to be going perfectly for me to do well,” Gold said. “I’m a little better skater than I thought, I should trust myself more, control my nerves.”
Just last year, Gold changed coaches, to Frank Carroll, who mentored Evan Lysacek to the gold medal four years ago and worked with Michelle Kwan for most of her great career. “Frank is one of the best coaches in the world,” Gold said. “He’s so full of wisdom, had so many champions, it just seemed the logical choice. You want an experienced guide on your journey.”
While other athletes have expressed concern for their own safety and that of their families, the Chicago native sounds unafraid in that regard. “People already there told us how beautiful the arena is,” Gold said. “At the end of the day, ice is ice, but they said it’s a great arena, so big and open. The picture from the outside looks gorgeous. “My dad, my mom, my sister, all three of them will come out to support me. We’ll be able to connect in the village. If they have the opportunity to go to the Olympics, they’re going to take it.”