A Star Is Born: Teen Phenom Gracie Gold Wins 2014 US Figure Skating Championship

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2014

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 11:  Gracie Gold takes a curtain call after winning the ladies competition at the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden on January 11, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s one thing to have a name that lends itself to being remembered. It’s quite another to have the talent, skill and determination to live up to it. 

After dominating the short program at the national figure skating championships, 18-year-old Gracie Gold found herself last on the ice in the free skate portion of the competition with a clear line of sight on the gold medal and an almost-assured place on the U.S. Olympic team headed to Sochi in February.

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 11:  Gracie Gold competes in the free skate program during the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden on January 11, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

She didn’t disappoint.

Gold was brilliant on the evening. Where her most fierce competitionAshley Wagner, Mirai Nagasu and 15-year-old Polina Edmunds—appeared shaky during their final performances, Gold seemed cooler than the ice she effortlessly glided above.

Just as Bleacher Report’s James McMahon predicted, Gold delivered with a dominant performance.

Despite a solid lead coming into the night, a misstep or two could have knocked her off the podium and perhaps onto the Olympic bubble.

But she delivered the kind of performance that will almost certainly make her one of the favorites at the upcoming Sochi Olympics. Gold, who was born in Newton, Mass., but calls Springfield, Ill., her hometown, dazzled the audience with a blend of elegance and humble excitement. It was almost as if Gold discovered she was a star right as America watched.

“This evening was a dream come true; this is definitely one of the best nights of my life,” said Gold, according to Boston.com's Jeff Pini. “I was able to do what I train and I just went out there and I did what I could. And I think, for the most part, I left it all out on the ice, and I’m so proud of myself.”

She even had 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi impressed:

Gold’s program was equal parts technique and artistry. She was poised and precise in her movements, even after momentarily placing her hands on the ice midway through her routine.

Compared to the other competitors, her jumps were higher, her movements across the ice were faster and she made it all seem as effortless as a dream.

By the end of her skate, as she approached her last jumps of the night, Gold’s face lit up. She was beaming with enthusiasm over the moment.

And why shouldn’t she? It was her moment; she was on another level in Boston.

Gold finished in a celebratory pose, and the crowd celebrated her feat with a standing ovation.

While the win didn’t officially lock up one of the three available Olympic team spots, it did make Gold an easy choice for the U.S. figure skating committee tasked with making that decision.

She will have to wait until Sunday to find out if she’s going to the Olympics. But those who watched her skate on Saturday already know one thing for sure.

Gracie Gold is a star.