While Ashley Wagner attempts to become the oldest U.S. women’s figure skating champion in 79 years next week, Gracie Gold is confident that she won’t be around to challenge that kind of age record.
When asked if she would be skating at Wagner’s current age (24), the 20-year-old Gold said she was “leaning towards probably not.”
“[If] I get an Olympic medal at 2018 in the team event and the singles, I’d say I’d probably retire, truthfully, just because I would already be 22,” Gold said Thursday. “I’ve seen so much life, and I still have several years of this journey to go. There’s so many cool people and things to see in the world, and I’d really like to start a different journey on my life. So I think, after 22, I’d still love to do shows, and I’d always like to be involved in skating whenever I can, but I think there are other things out there for me as well. So I would say maybe, leaning towards probably not [skating at 24 years old] .”
Gold, the 2014 U.S. champion who finished fourth at both the 2014 Olympics and 2015 World Championships, will attempt to reclaim her U.S. title after finishing second to Wagner last year.
U.S. Championships coverage starts with a preview show on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra on Sunday (full schedule here).
Gold said that last January she competed at Nationals merely hoping to qualify for the World Championships, essentially to finish on the podium. She skated then off limited practice due to a small stress fracture in her foot suffered late in the fall.
“I was trying to get through it and survive,” Gold said of 2015, when she finished a distant 15.48 points behind Wagner’s record-breaking total score. “I want to set myself apart as the National champion [this year].”
This season, Gold finished second at Skate America in October but outscored the winner, Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva, in the free skate as Medvedeva fell.
Medvedeva went on to win the Grand Prix Final in December and is the favorite for the World Championships in Boston in a little more than two months.
Then Gold skated a personal-best short program at Trophée Bompard in Bordeaux, France, on Nov. 13. The free skate was canceled due to the Paris terror attacks.
At the Grand Prix Final, Gold had multiple errors on jumps in both her short and long programs and finished fifth out of six skaters, one spot behind Wagner.
Gold said she “freaked out” before skating, worrying about what her competitors were doing.
“I just choked,” Gold said. “I beat myself. Nobody really beat me. … There wasn’t a fire. There wasn’t an attack. It was just very meh.”
If Gold finishes in the top three at the U.S. Championships, she’s in line to be named to her fourth straight Worlds team. Gold’s record at Worlds — sixth, fifth and fourth the last three years.
Gold has finished between fourth and sixth in individual standings in all seven of her starts at the Olympics, Worlds, Grand Prix Final and Four Continents Championships.
“It’s always been two steps forward, one step back, it seems like,” she said. “I’m tired of going down without a fight, like by doing doubles [instead of triple jumps] … I want to at least go down guns blazing.”