Ashley Wagner became the the first woman to win back-to-back US Figure Skating Championships since 2005, but the most promising performance was turned in by 17-year-old Gracie Gold at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center.
With the gold medal already out of her reach, Gold showed what she could do when she let it all hang out.
Her last routine was absolutely brilliant, and proof of her immense potential. At only 17 years old, her future is especially bright.
She impeccably performed a routine that included seven triple jumps, and she did it with style. Gold settled for the silver medal, but she created the most buzz moving forward.
Scott Hamilton, a gold medalist in 1984, said this to Chicago Tribune: "Ashley won the event, but Gracie is the one everyone is talking about."
I'd have to agree with that assessment.
The Newton, Mass. native that calls Chicago home has always been an exciting performer, but she has been dogged by inconsistency. Hopefully, this is an indication that Gold is ready to turn the corner in her skating career.
She must improve her performance in the first act of competitions. Even though she shined in the free skate, Gold faltered in the short program.
She finished just ninth, and that dug a huge hole that even her triple-jump filled final run couldn't dig her out of. The talent is there, but her skills must be refined and she has to mature.
If the United States is looking for a young superstar to get behind for the World Championships in March, Gold may be the best choice.
She has all the qualities one looks for in a potential star. She's young, talented, but also flawed.
It makes it very interesting and compelling to root for her. Stay tuned as Gold's potentially great career unfolds.