Gracie Gold medal-less going into Grand Prix Final

Gracie Gold

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.”

MORE: Ashley Wagner eyes U.S. history at Grand Prix Final

Germany sweeps women’s luge medals at world championships

Anna Berreiter

Olympic silver medalist Anna Berreiter led a German sweep of the women’s medals at the world luge championships at home in Oberhof on Saturday.

Berreiter prevailed by 58 thousandths of a second over defending world champion Julia Taubitz combining times from two runs. At 23, she is the youngest women’s world champion since American Erin Hamlin in 2009.

Dajana Eitberger, who won the sprint world title on Friday, rounded out Saturday’s podium. Summer Britcher was the top American in 12th

A German woman has won 38 of the last 43 world titles dating to 1962.

German women also won the last seven Olympic titles dating to 1998. Natalie Geisenberger, who won the last three Olympic golds, is sitting out this season due to pregnancy.

Germany has won the first seven events of worlds with two left on Sunday — the traditional men’s event and the team relay. Germany last swept the luge worlds golds in 2013, back when there were four events.

Earlier Saturday, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won their fifth consecutive world title, beating longtime rivals and countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt by .171. Wendl and Arlt won the last three Olympic titles. Americans Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander placed seventh on Saturday.

Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal repeated as world champions in women’s doubles, an event that makes its Olympic debut in 2026. Chevonne Forgan and Sophia Kirkby were the top Americans in sixth.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 85th World Cup, can tie overall record Sunday

Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin earned her 85th World Cup win on Saturday and can tie the Alpine skiing World Cup victories record on Sunday.

Shiffrin won the first of back-to-back slaloms in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, site of her World Cup debut in 2011 at age 15, for her 11th victory in 22 starts this season.

She prevailed by six tenths of a second over German Lena Duerr combining times from two runs. Then she celebrated with an uncharacteristic shoulder shimmy before “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner began playing over loudspeakers in the finish area.

It’s not the first time that song has been played after a Shiffrin victory this season.

“I knew it would take some risk,” she said. “There’s a chance I don’t finish at all.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin, having her best season since her record 17-win campaign in 2018-19, is now one victory shy of the Alpine World Cup record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 times between slalom and giant slalom in the 1970s and ’80s.

Stenmark has held the record since January 1982.

Shiffrin races in another slalom on Sunday in Spindleruv Mlyn, the last women’s race before February’s world championships. World championships races do not count as World Cups. The World Cup season resumes following worlds in late February.

Shiffrin is on her second winning streak this season and has won nine of her last 14 races dating to Dec. 18. Last Tuesday, she won a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, to break her tie with Lindsey Vonn for the women’s Alpine World Cup wins record. On Wednesday, she won another GS In Kronplatz.

She leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by more than 600 points through 27 of 39 scheduled races. At this rate, she could clinch her fifth overall title before March’s World Cup Finals.

She is currently tied with Vonn for the second-most women’s overall titles behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll, who won five in the 1970s.

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