Gracie Gold will leave Michigan for a tryout with venerable figure skating coach Frank Carroll in California on Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Gold, 18, is coming off a disappointing performance at the U.S. International Classic in Salt Lake City last week. She fell in her short program and missed on four jumps in her free skate, finishing second to Courtney Hicks. Gold is the reigning U.S. silver medalist and sixth-place finisher from the World Championships.
Carroll, 75, coached Michelle Kwan for much of her career and is currently the coach of Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and world silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan.
It surfaced over the weekend that Gold, a Springfield, Ill., native, split from Chicago-area coach Alex Ouriashev. That split happened late last month, according to the newspaper. She has since been training in Michigan with her choreographer. She may stay in Michigan or be based in California with Carroll.
It’s a concern that one of the best skaters in the world is without a coach five months before the Games, but it’s not unprecedented.
“(Shizuka) Arakawa left her coach two months before the Olympics, and that worked out for her,” Gold told the newspaper. “I don’t feel nervous at all, just excited about the opportunities this season holds.”
Japan’s Arakawa was the surprise 2006 Olympic gold medalist, coming out ahead of Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya.
Gold said she didn’t think she would completely shift to Los Angeles if she joins with Carroll, saying she would travel between California and Michigan.
“She needs to listen to a voice, not many voices,” Carroll said. “I think having many coaches is a mistake. I think she does have to be settled, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be with me.”
Gold wasn’t assigned a spot at Skate America, Oct. 18-20, but she is scheduled for Skate Canada, Oct. 25-27. The biggest pre-Olympic competition is, of course, nationals in Boston in January.
Three U.S. women will be chosen for the U.S. Olympic team after nationals — likely the top three finishers. Two-time reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner must be considered the top contender now.
Gold was right behind her after a breakthrough season, but she was beaten at the U.S. International Classic by Hicks, who was fourth at last season’s nationals, behind Wagner, Gold and Agnes Zawadzki. The fifth-place finisher at nationals, Christina Gao, is also a threat to make it to Sochi.
It appears the next few days will go a long way in determining the next few months for Gold.