Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grace on Ice: Happy 19th Birthday to U.S. Champion, Gracie Gold

Gracie Gold, reigning U.S. Champion, and her twin sister, Carly, turn 19 today. What a year it has been for Gracie, winning her first U.S. title at the "Olympic Trials" in Boston with two perfect performances in front of a packed crowd, an impressive fourth place finish at her first Olympic Games in Sochi in February, and her second top six Worlds finish in Saitima, JPN, in March.

I was in the fourth row in Boston and witnessed the sheer power and height that Gracie has in her jumps. Her connection with the audience is still improving, but her overall image, that of Grace Kelly on ice (it must be something with that name!), gives her such striking visual appeal. She skates with a lot of speed, which you can't really tell when you watch on TV, and has the ability to have that "it" factor. I've seen her lack that quality in other events when she gets really nervous, such as the Olympics, but I know that her confidence and consistency will grow in time, and when that happens: watch out!

I was also lucky enough to meet Gracie in person during an autograph session the morning after women's freeskate. Though I'm sure she was exhausted from her emotional victory and being named to the Olympic team the night before, Gracie was nothing but pleasant and friendly with each person waiting to meet her. She was sweet and patient with each person, letting them take multiple photos with her.

My knowledge of Gracie Gold is still limited, being that she's only been in the senior skating spotlight a short two years, but I look forward to watching her grow as an athlete and artist during this next Olympic cycle.

In honor of her birthday, I'm posting her gold-medal winning freeskate from the U.S. Championships. Happiest birthday wishes to Gracie, (and to her sister!), and best of luck to her in the upcoming skating season!

Below are some pictures I took at the U.S. Championships in Boston. I took photos of the jumbotron projection of Gracie in the "Kiss and Cry," getting her winning marks. The other photos are of Gracie signing autographs, and me getting to meet her. Such a fun memory!

Gracie's gold-medal winning freeskate from the U.S. Championships to "Sleeping Beauty," by Tchaikovsky:

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