Everyone seems to be talking about Gracie Gold this season and as the Junior World silver medalist, I guess that the talk is warranted. A lot of the excitement stems from the U.S.’ lack of ladies on the World podium as the days of Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Sasha Cohen, Michelle Kwan and the rest are now long gone. None of the current senior ladies seems to have what it takes to stay even in the top 5 for more than a season and the need of a saviour in time for Sochi is great. Ashely Wagner may be improving but she’s had a history of being a headcase. That and I don’t find her particularly amiable, which is detrimental to a skater looking for endorsements.
Gracie Gold on the other hand, is young, has tons of potential and has this sweet Taylor Swift-ish charm about her. However, there’s something off about her skating hence my reluctance to label her as the future of figure skating. Her jumps are impressive but they lack flow coming out of them. She also, unfortunately, does not make use of her long limbs which can form lovely lines. Instead, her limbs – especially her arms – tend to lumber around though thankfully not in the Evan Lysacek-esque epileptic fashion. I’d also like to see more expression in her skating – which would be aided by better use of her arms and legs – and she really needs to push through in the performance aspect of her skating because time is running out for her as she pushes on into the senior ranks.
In my theoretical figure skating world, I’m not sure if she should go to the duo of Brian Orser and David Wilson. Orser would be a great coach in perfecting her jumps while Wilson could make lovely choreography to bring out her personality. The only detriment is that judging from Yuna Kim and Christina Gao’s skating, details like extension and posture aren’t too much of a concern to Orser and Gold could benefit from having both of these qualities. One coach and choreographer that may improve Gold is Shae-Lynn Bourne, though I’m not sure if Gold is ready or mature enough to take on Shae-Lynn’s programs.
In any case, a coaching change should be put into order if Gold wants to 1) improve enough to compete with the big girls – though at this point, she might be able to break into the top 10 at Worlds immediately since the ladies field is quite weak right now – and 2) send a political message that she means to be on the podium at Sochi. Right now, however, I see more of a glittering future for Gracie (if she continues to improve) in Pyeongchang 2018 rather than Sochi. In the end, let’s hope that she doesn’t waste her potential like Caroline Zhang.
What are your thoughts on Gracie Gold? I’d love to hear them!
~The Rinkside Cafe