Gracie Gold calls audible, adds lyrics for post-Olympic season

Gracie Gold
0 Comments

Gracie Gold looks to a fresh start going into next week’s Skate America, with the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics already on her mind.

“I have another four years left in me, if not more,” Gold said in a teleconference Tuesday. “It’s a fresh start on my skating career for both [the] Grand Prix [season] and leading into Nationals [the U.S. Championships in Greensboro, N.C., in January]. I feel good about the possibilities.”

Gold – who last season earned her first U.S. Championship, an Olympic team event bronze medal, a fourth-place individual finish in Sochi and fifth at the World Championships – took third in her international season debut at Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany two weeks ago.

She was the most decorated skater in the Nebelhorn field but said she felt nervous and wasn’t at her best, leading to a fall in the short program and popping a jump in her free skate.

At Nebelhorn, Gold debuted a long program that included something new for this season – vocal music with lyrics – even though in April she said she’d let other skaters play around with skating to lyrics before trying her own.

“I absolutely did not intend to use lyrics this year,” Gold said. “But [my team] had cut this piece of music for me, and they had fallen in love with it. They played it for me, and I was still unsure, even when I got on the ice to choreograph. We had a couple of backup ideas. But as soon as I started moving to it, I started to fall in love with it.”

But the most surprising of all?

“It really shocked me that [Coach] Frank [Carroll] loved it, because I thought that he wouldn’t be into lyrics at all,” Gold said of her coach, whom she calls “legendary” and has been part of the sport since the 1950s.

Not everyone will share Carroll and Gold’s disposition toward her medley from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. The 19-year-old knows that.

“Competing is definitely rooted in tradition, but I like [lyrics],” Gold said. “I don’t think of it as a crutch. I actually think it can help enhance the program. But I know that traditionalists will never quite accept lyrics the way they like their classical music.”

Gold also has added stability this season. She left her Illinois base in August 2013 and moved to the Golden State to work with Carroll one month later. “A California convert,” Gold said she’s looking at potential colleges — Loyola Marymount, UCLA and USC.

She’ll go back to her native Illinois next week for the first of her two Grand Prix season assignments at Skate America, where she hopes to be more confident than in Germany two weeks ago.

“Not every competition is the Olympic Games,” Gold said. “I just need to relax and have a little more fun with competing.”

A lot of the points Gold missed at Nebelhorn were lost from technical scoring. The goal for Skate America is to get some back through her jumps.

“Frank and I are really working on the consistency of the triple Lutz-triple toe,” she said. “So even if the triple Lutz is a little off, that cat-like ability to land on your feet and snag a triple toe.”

And of course, with Yuna Kim and Mao Asada – leaders the past two Olympic cycles – out of the picture this season, Gold has a clear path to move up. She has her eye on competition from Russia and Japan.

Gold is the only woman in the Skate America field who finished in the top eight at the Olympics or the World Championships one month later.

But she will not be an overwhelming favorite, given the presence of two-time reigning World Junior champion Elena Radionova, who was too young for Sochi but finished second at last year’s NHK Trophy event in Japan, two spots ahead of Gold.

“It’s a different field [overall this season], but I think that I’m ready for it,” Gold said. “I can be in the top. There will be no more than three Russians that I have to face per competition, so not all of them at one time.”

Meryl Davis, Charlie White discuss their future in ice dance

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
Getty
0 Comments

British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
Getty
0 Comments

Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!