Gracie Gold goes into next week’s Grand Prix Final, the most prestigious annual figure skating competition outside of the World Championships, as the top qualifier but with zero Grand Prix series medals this season.
“I did really well at both of my Grand Prix [events], but I don’t technically have a medal from either,” she said Wednesday. “One being my own fault.”
Gold, who finished fourth at the 2014 Olympics and the 2015 Worlds, finished second at Skate America in October. A woman stepped on her glass silver medal while Gold posed for a photo with fans later that evening, she said.
“I glued it all together, kind of,” said Gold, who is hoping for a replacement medal.
On Nov. 13, Gold skated a personal-best short program and led by 7.69 points at Trophée Bompard in Bordeaux, France.
Later that night, terrorist attacks rocked Paris, which is 350 miles northeast of Bordeaux. Gold said she was woken by a phone call from her father back in the U.S. and turned on CNN, learning of the attacks.
“It was unsettling, for sure,” she said. “It was shocking for all of us. Bordeaux is several hours away, but I don’t think it mattered where you were in the world. I think we all kind of felt the horror of that night.”
Gold went to morning practice a few hours later, still prepared to perform in the free skate later that day. Soon after her morning practice, the International Skating Union announced the free skates were canceled. Gold agreed with the decision.
“It just seemed so silly to be worried or sad that we couldn’t do a free program or finish a Grand Prix in light of the terrorist attacks,” she said.
The move made qualifying for the Grand Prix Final unclear. The competition takes the top six skaters per discipline from the Grand Prix season, adding each skater’s two finishes.
But Gold had only one official finish — that runner-up at Skate America.
The ISU took nine days after the Bompard cancellation to announce that the Bompard short program results would count as final results for Grand Prix Final qualifying — and that Gold was definitely into the Grand Prix Final.
“I definitely didn’t want to be making that decision because, whichever way it went, you’re never going to get that Grand Prix back,” Gold said. “It’s easy for me to say that I am glad that they just took the short program results, because I had a great short program.”
Gold said she flew from France to the U.S. the day after the Bompard cancellation, with a “quite magical” overnight in Rome in between.
She will compete in the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona for the first time, after withdrawing before the event last year due to injury. She’s the top qualifier into the competition, with first- and second-place Grand Prix series finishes and a tiebreaker over Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva.
Six times, Gold has finished between fourth and sixth in individual standings at the Olympics, Worlds and Four Continents Championships. A Grand Prix Final medal could be a breakthrough.
As for eventually receiving a Bompard medal for her short program?
“I don’t know if we’ll get one,” she said. “Your guess is as good as mine.”