U.S. champion Gracie Gold‘s voice quivered, saying she was “devastated” to pull out of next week’s Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest international figure skating event this season.
Gold learned she had a stress fracture in her left foot after a CT scan and MRI on Tuesday, six days after first feeling foot pain while warming up for the NHK Trophy event in Japan.
Gold dismissed it as a mild injury last week, tendonitis perhaps, skated in Japan and won the event, the biggest international victory of her career, to qualify for the Grand Prix Final for the first time.
Gold, who says now she feels little pain, was recommended after Tuesday’s scan and MRI not to enter the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona because she could make the injury worse and threaten her chance of competing later this season.
“I’m extremely disappointed, even slightly depressed,” Gold said. “I’ve never really had anything that you would call an injury before.”
Gold said she’s in a walking boot off the ice, but there’s no swelling or bruising and she can still do spins when in skates. She’s been told to stay away from jumps and high impact on the foot. Gold still hopes to skate at a show with Olympic teammate Jeremy Abbott on Dec. 20, but she might not be able to perform a full arsenal of jumps.
Gold, an Olympic team event bronze medalist, still hopes to compete at the U.S. Championships in Greensboro, N.C., in January and the World Championships in Shanghai in March (both to air on NBC).
“The bigger picture is that I need to recover as quickly as possible,” Gold, 19, said in a press release. “My ultimate goals for this year are to win another U.S. title and make the podium at Worlds. These are the factors that my team and I used to make this very difficult decision.”
Gold finished fourth individually at the Sochi Olympics and fifth at the 2014 World Championships in March.
Three U.S. women will be selected for the World Championships team after the U.S. Championships.
Gold’s absence at the Grand Prix Final means Olympic teammate Ashley Wagner will be the only American woman competing at the six-skater event for a second straight year.
Wagner will take on four Russians — Yelena Radionova, Yulia Lipnitskaya, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Anna Pogorilaya. Gold’s replacement hasn’t been named. Japan’s Rika Hongo is the first alternate.
“I wanted to go and fight the Russians, take on four of the top ones,” Gold said.