Sunday, January 24, 2016

This Will Renew Your Faith in Figure Skating: Part 4: Gracie Gold's "Firebird"

When I saw Gracie Gold capture the gold at the U.S. National Championship in Boston in 2014, I thought she'd be unbeatable for years to come.

But then she wasn't.

Crumbling under the pressure at critical moments in the last two years, both on the international and national scene, I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone in having doubts about Gracie's competitive focus. Her performance in the short program, where she performed a gaping single-Lutz, in lieu of her marquis triple-triple combination, gave credence to these doubts.

And then, she showed up.

Last night, skating last in a powerhouse group of women's competitors at the U.S. National Championships in St. Paul, MN., Gracie Gold finally lived up to her name. She embodied the character of Stravinsky's "Firebird," with a performance that was full of athletic firepower and artistic sparkle.

Though I'd still love to see Gracie exude more and become a more genuine artist, what she put out on the ice last night was impressive, and from an athletic standpoint, pretty awesome. It was great to see her come back from a devastating performance and throw down the gauntlet on a night when her closest competitors skated lights-out. Gracie finally did her job, and she did it really damn well.

Bravo, Gracie! Congratulations on showing everyone what you already knew about yourself: you are the skater to beat.

My faith in skating has been restored!

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