Just after being crowned the 2016 Skate America champ, with Mariah Bell in 2nd and Japan’s Mai Mihara in 3rd, Ashley spoke about Gracie Gold, who placed in 5th overall.
“We just need to adjust my physical shape and mental shape to see if the program can be salvaged for the rest of the year,” Gracie shared with press after the program. “It’s just something I’ve struggled with this whole year and in previous seasons. It’s just difficult when you’re trying to do the difficult triple jumps. It’s something that I am addressing but it’s obviously not where it should be for this caliber of competition.”
“I would have to say every athlete has that one Mount Everest that they have to climb,” Ashley added afterwards. “For me, it was deciding to leave my house and take my skating over for myself. That was my biggest challenge and that’s what turned me into the athlete I am today. For her [Gracie], I think that losing that world title was devastating for her, understandably, because she had it and then the next day, she didn’t. The hardest part about all of this is you see someone struggling and hurting and no one can help her right now except for herself. It’s going to be her having enough and getting herself out of it. I think that we have a very supportive federation and everyone is doing their best to give her the tools that she needs to get through this. But it’s going to come down to her wanting to use them and getting ready to let go.”
Ashley added, “You know, at the end of the day, a person’s a person and you see them in pain, you want to do whatever you can to help out. We’re not very close but I think she’s a sweet girl and I think that she just kind of needs to find a way to push through this. She’s an awesome athlete and I respect her so much for what she is capable of. This is not the end of Gracie, I know that for a fact.”
Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold serve up sass and class on the ice during the ladies short program at 2016 Progressive Skate America on Friday (October 21) in Chicago, Ill.
The two Olympian figure skaters rank #1 and #3 after the night, ahead of the free dance, which will happen later today.
“I felt so calm and confident going out onto that ice and I didn’t even go over to (coach Rafael Arutunian),” Ashley shared with TeamUSA. “Usually he jokes that I come over and I pray with him, and I didn’t have to go pray with him today. I knew what I was going to do.”
Check out the sweet Instagram she shared with boyfriend, speed skating star Eddy Alvarez below!
“Obviously I’m really embarrassed and I’m really ashamed with how I’m skated,” the 20-year-old athlete shared after her performance, which left her in 4th place after the competition ended.
Gracie added, “It was just one of those really, really tragic skates that you feel like you can’t do anything right. I feel really sorry for Boston and for the United States that I let them down when they needed me most.”
When asked about her Olympic shots for the 2018 games, Gracie shared, “It’s appearing less and less likely that that’s in my cards, but of course I’ll keep trying and training hard. I am in the top in the world. I still have hopes for (the 2018 Olympics) and 2018 podium. … I have potential, it just has to happen at the right time.”
Gracie Gold – 2016 World Championships – Free Program
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Ashley shared afterwards. “Here I am, the silver medalist in the entire world, it’s insane! It’s been a 10-year drought – to be able to break through that, to br on the podium; I’m elated, I’m excited and I feel like I’ve worked my butt off this season to be here.”
She added, “This is absolutely incredible because that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for skating last at the world championships after your rival has skated a great performance, knowing that the entire ladies’ field has skated field has skated pretty phenomenally. To go out there feeling the way that I did, being as terrified as I was, and finding a way to get on the ice and have access to the skater that I’ve been in training this week, that is unbelievable.”