The future remains extremely bright for American figure skater Gracie Gold despite failing to reach the podium in the women's individual competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Gold finished with a total score of 205.53, finishing behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, Yuna Kim of South Korea and Carolina Kostner of Italy.
|2||Yuna Kim||South Korea||219.11|
|4||Gracie Gold||United States||205.53|
|7||Ashley Wagner||United States||193.20|
|9||Polina Edmunds||United States||183.25|
|10||Mae Berenice Meite||France||174.53|
Gold fell during her free skate, which obviously damaged her medal hopes, as Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead pointed out:
Bummer. Gracie Gold had a flawless performance and then just fell. Sucks. Not sure if she'll be in the mix for a medal.— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) February 20, 2014
Gold was part of the United States group that won bronze in the team event. She skated in the women's free program and finished second out of five skaters. Getting that opportunity to take the ice for competition before the individual event was a positive.
The fact the Americans won a medal didn't completely satisfy her craving for Olympic success, though. Jere Longman of The New York Times provided comments from the 18-year-old rising star, who was hoping to build off her first podium finish:
"Now that I actually have a medal, it definitely makes me hungry for another one. And it makes me hungry for a different color one."
Between the success in the team event, the United States' desire for the next great women's singles figure skating star and her Olympic-ready last name, there was a lot of pressure on her shoulders. But that's to be expected on the big stage.
Is Gracie Gold the next figure skating superstar?
Gold made a steady rise over the last few years. She won silver in the 2012 World Junior Championships. It was followed by a silver in last year's U.S. Championships and then gold in this year's national competition to enter the Games with some confidence and momentum.
At the same time, there are always concerns about how an athlete will handle the Olympic stage. A team event is one thing, but going out solo and being expected to perform at an elite level is a challenge few can conquer. And the margin for error is razor thin.
That's what makes the Olympics special, though. The best in every discipline going head-to-head and, for a rising star like Gold, it's a chance to leave a mark on the international stage.
Unfortunately for Gold, things didn't go the way she needed them to over the two-day event in order to land on the podium. She flashed outstanding potential during both the short program and free skate, but all told it just wasn't on a podium level.
At first, there will probably be a lot of frustration about not getting a medal. Over time, however, the experience itself should serve as a major positive as she starts looking toward 2018. The American star will have far more competitions under her belt by that point.
Looking ahead, it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see Gold arrive in Pyeongchang, South Korea, four years from now as a serious gold-medal contender. The talent is there; it's just about taking her routines to the next level moving forward as the competition continues to improve, as well.
Her overall performances in Sochi are certainly worthy of praise. The best is yet to come, though, and that's what should excite American figure skating fans. Gold only scratched the surface of her potential in her first Olympics.
Let the countdown to 2018 begin.