Figure skater Gracie Gold drops out of US Championships
Gold announced last month that she was withdrawing from her Grand Prix assignments as she sought treatment. Her decision ends her chance of competing at the Winter Olympics 2018.
Two-time U.S. women's figure skating champion Gracie Gold has withdrawn from the national championships over her battle with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.
Gold announced last month that she was withdrawing from her Grand Prix assignments as she sought treatment, and her decision to skip nationals in January ends any chance of her competing at next year's Winter Olympics.
The 22-year-old Gold, who won team bronze and barely missed the women's podium at the 2014 Sochi Games, has struggled since the 2016 world championships
She also changed coaches earlier this year, shortly after finishing a disappointing sixth at the national championships.
Two-time U.S. women's figure skating champion Gracie Gold (pictured at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championship when she won her second title) has withdrawn from the national championships over her battle with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder
In a statement emailed to reporters on Friday, Gold said it 'breaks my heart to withdraw from the 2018 U.S. championships.'
'I am still undergoing treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. I have not had adequate training time in order to perform at the level at which I want to.
'It pains me to not compete in this Olympic season, but I know it's for the best. I wish everyone the best of luck and will be cheering you all on. I want to thank everyone for the ongoing love and support. It means the world to me.'
The national championships begin on December 29 in San Jose, California, and will serve as the final selection event for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Gold won her first U.S. title in 2014, and went on to claim bronze for her team at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi later that year, and finished fourth in the women’s competition.
She claimed another U.S. title in 2016, but struggled last season, finishing sixth at the U.S. championships and missing out on the world championships team.
Updates: The skater had previously been sharing updates with her followers as the Olympics gets ever nearer, counting down to the Games in several posts
Health first: The 22-year-old (at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on July 16, 2015) announced she's dropping out of the championships because she is 'undergoing treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder'
The 22-year-old announced she was taking a break from training in September to seek professional help, and on October 13, she revealed she was withdrawing from the grand prix in November.
'It saddens me deeply to sit out this Grand Prix Series, but I know it is for the best,' Gracie said in a statement to NBC Sports last month. 'I am currently in treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. I will not have adequate training time to prepare and compete at the level that I want to.'
Gracie previously dropped out of the Japan Open, an invitational team competition on October 7. She has now abandoned her two major international assignments in the Grand Prix series: Cup of China and Internationaux de France. Both of which take place in November.
In September, Gracie announced that she was taking time off from training for the 2018 Winter Games in order to 'seek professional help' after going through 'struggles on and off the ice'.
Before the announcement, she had been actively training towards the next Winter Games, which are set to take place in Tokyo in February.
However, in a statement made on September 1, the competitive figure skater admitted that she would be 'taking time off' from her rigorous training schedule in order to deal with some undisclosed issues.
The skating champion (pictured competing in the Championship Ladies Free Skate during the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships) said she had ' not had adequate training time in order to perform at the level at which I want to'
Getting help: Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold has revealed that she is undergoing treatment for anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. She is pictured in January 2017
'My passion for skating and training remains strong,' Gracie told USA Today. 'However, after recent struggles on and off the ice, I realize I need to seek some professional help and will be taking some time off while preparing for my Grand Prix assignments.
'This time will help me become a stronger person, which I believe will be reflected in my skating performances as well.'
Although Gracie did not expand on what kind of professional help she would be seeking at the time, a source close to the athlete told Us Weekly that she has been going through a number of 'personal issues' in recent months, and her 'health' is her number one focus while she is seeking treatment.
'[Gracie] has been dealing with a couple of issues in her personal life and needs to take a step away and focus on her health,' the source revealed.
'Her family and friends are so proud of her for being so brave and facing these issues directly. Everyone is so happy that she is stepping away from skating to take care of herself. It takes a lot of courage.'
As reported by USA Today, it has not been an easy year for the two-time national champion, who has suffered an incredibly disappointing 2016/17 season.
Training time: The last time that Gracie was known to have been on the ice was on August 21, when she shared these images from a break during a session at the Broadmoor World Arena
Accomplishment: Gracie was part of the bronze medal-winning U.S. figure skating team at the Sochi Games in Russian in 2014
Gracie finished in a less-than-impressive sixth place at the national championships in January, a result which saw her miss out on a spot at the world championships for the first time in five years.
Meanwhile Gracie's friend and Olympic teammate Ashley Wagner, 26, ended up in second place, just behind 18-year-old Karen Chen, who went on to finish fourth at the world championships.
Gracie's second teammate from the Winter Games, Polina Edmunds, now 19, was also forced to take a break from training back in November 2016, when she discovered a fracture on the navicular bone in her foot.
She returned to the ice in March 2017, and is currently thought to be training for a spot on the 2018 Olympic team.
Gracie was thought to have been training just a few weeks before she announced she was taking a break. On August 21, she posted an Instagram image of herself and her hairstylist doing a fun 'Polaroid photo shoot' in between training sessions at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado.
The figure skater, who was wearing her Team USA sweater in the images, tagged U.S. Figure Skating in the post, which is the last one featured on her Instagram page.
Disappointment: She looked incredibly shaky at this year's national championships, finishing in sixth, a result which was her miss the world championships for the first time in five years
She previously shared her aim to compete at the next Olympics, counting down to the sporting event in various Instagram posts and checking in occasionally at her training sessions.
This is not the first time that Gracie has opened up publicly about her struggles with mental health.
In October 2016, following a disappointing performance at Skate America, Gracie admitted that she had been struggling with her weight and the pressure to stay in shape during training, suggesting that both her 'physical and mental shape' had been responsible for her shaky programs.
'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,' she said after the competition, before adding: 'You don't often see — there aren't that many — you just don't see overweight figure skaters for a reason.
'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.... It's a lean body sport and it's just not what I have currently...'