Gracie Gold says she’s ’embarrassed,’ ‘ashamed’ in emotional interview

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U.S. champion Gracie Gold was understandably shaken by her fourth-place finish at the World Championships on Saturday night.

Gold led after the short program Thursday but fell on the opening jump combination in her free skate and later doubled a planned triple Lutz. She ended up 2.4 points shy of bronze.

“It was one of those really, really tragic skates where you just feel like you couldn’t do anything right,” Gold said, according to the Boston Globe. “I’m really disappointed. And I feel really sorry for Boston and the United States because I feel like I let them down when they needed me most. I’m sorry to [my team] and everybody that supported me that I couldn’t deliver.”

Gold previously finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics and the 2015 World Championships. Her total score this year, despite the flaws, would have won the 2015 World title.

After she skated Saturday, countrywoman Ashley Wagner followed with a personal-best free skate, jumping from fourth after the short program to a silver medal to end a nine-year U.S. women’s medal drought.

“I’m really sad, and I’m really embarrassed,” Gold said in the video interview below. “I feel really ashamed of how I skated and how I tried to represent my country. It just is a really, really terrible moment for me and my skating.”

Gold entered the night as the top hope to end the longest U.S. Olympic/Worlds women’s medal drought since the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

“It just shows that I’m not up there with the rest of the world, but maybe in the future I can be a better skater,” Gold said, according to an International Skating Union press release. “I still have hopes for the 2018 Olympics, but we’ll have to step back and re-evaluate what’s realistic for my future skating.”

An interviewer suggested to Gold that she was being a bit harsh on herself.

“If you look at the skating and the qualify of skating and the scores, I just feel that it’s accurate, and it’s what everybody else is going to say anyway,” Gold responded.

MORE: Wagner ends U.S. medal drought; Russian takes title

Maria Sharapova wraps up tennis career after nearly two decades, career Slam

Maria Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement after a professional tennis career that includes five Grand Slam wins, 36 singles titles and an Olympic silver medal.

Sharapova was only 17 when she won her first major in 2004 at Wimbledon. She won the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 before completing her career Grand Slam in the 2012 French Open. She won the French Open again in 2014.

After moving from Russia to Florida at age 9 to train at the Bollettieri Academy, she made her professional debut just after her 14th birthday in 2001. She graduated to top-level events and majors within two years and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2003.

In 2004, she upset Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams at Wimbledon and beat Williams again at the Tour Championships.

By 2005, the 6-foot-2 player had claimed the top spot in the world rankings. She remained in the top five for most of the next four years before suffering an injury to her right shoulder that limited her tournament schedule in 2008 and 2009. By 2011, she had reclaimed her status as a top-five player and remained there until 2016.

Her career declined after a positive drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. The substance in question, meldonium, had been given by Russian doctors to many athletes.

An initial suspension of two years was reduced to 15 months, but she wasn’t able to get back to her previous form. She won one more tournament in 2017 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 French Open, but she fared poorly in sporadic appearances in 2019. Her last match was a loss to Donna Vekic in the first round of the Australian Open in January.

SEE: Sharapova discusses reduced ban on TODAY

Her meldonium suspension also cost her commercial sponsorships and her role as a UN Development Program ambassador, which she earned with her work to help survivors of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

She was involved in the Olympics as a silver medalist in 2012, losing to Williams in the final, and as one of the final torch bearers in the relay to the 2014 Olympics opening ceremony in her home country.

She’s also third on the all-time WTA earnings list behind Serena and Venus Williams, taking in more than $38m in her career on top of lucrative endorsement deals.

Federica Brignone hopes World Cup rival Mikaela Shiffrin will return soon

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Mikaela Shiffrin‘s prolonged absence from the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit has opened the door for Italy’s Federica Brignone to break the American’s grip on the season title, but Brignone hopes her friend and rival will be back in competition soon.

“I really do hope that she will return soon for herself so she can do again what she loves most,” Brignone said.

Brignone took the season lead from Shiffrin, who has won the last three World Cup overall titles, on Sunday and has a 73-point advantage with 11 of the season’s 40 races remaining. She also leads Shiffrin by 74 points in the giant slalom standings.

READ: Brignone moves into World Cup lead

No Italian woman has won the overall World Cup. Brignone was fifth in 2017 and won the Alpine combined discipline title last season.

Brignone will have a chance to clinch another Alpine combined discipline title and extend her overall lead in her home country this weekend. While some other sports events in Italy have been canceled or otherwise affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the host resort of La Thuile has so far been spared from the virus’ spread.

Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the only other skier with a realistic chance of winning the overall trophy, is dealing with a knee injury and might not be able to race this weekend. Vhlova leads Shiffrin by 20 points in the slalom standings.

Shiffrin has not competed since the death of her father Feb. 2, and she has not announced plans to return. She was not on pace to match her astounding 17-win 2018-19 season but still had six wins and had reached the podium in 13 of 19 races.

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