BOSTON — Winning her first national figure skating title where it all began was a bit of symmetry for Gracie Gold. As toddlers, Gold and her twin sister, Carly, took their first steps on the ice in the Boston suburbs where they were born.
From that first skate on a frozen marsh to a gold-medal performance in a packed arena, the journey is far from complete.
"The closer we get to Sochi, the more and more I want to be going for a medal. I think it's a realistic goal, and we'll see what happens," she said.
Gold's win resonated across the country. The day after the victory, her name was the nation's seventh-most-searched term, according to Google trends. Only the Golden Globes and various Hollywood stars were more popular that day.
With such an irresistible name, Gold, 18, has read her share of puns. Asked to write a headline after the national championship, she joked, "I think people can get creative and come up with a new one. Maybe something to do with Gold?"
Her suggestion: "Grace Gets Gold."
A natural jumper, Gold's artistry has improved since moving to Los Angeles to work with Frank Carroll in September. After Gold finished fourth at the NHK Trophy in Japan in November, Carroll suggested changing her short program from Three Preludes to Grieg's Piano Concerto. Carroll, who began coaching Gold well after her programs had been in place, thought the music was too jazzy and modern for the judges, Gold said. Working with noted choreographer Lori Nichol added a level of sophistication to her program.
The move to California with mother, Denise, her sister, also a senior-level skater, and their Japanese Chin, Yoshi, was the latest in pursuit of her Olympic dream.
After moving from the Boston area when she was 5, Gold spent most of her childhood in Springfield, Ill. but left after her freshman year of high school to train in the Chicago area.
All the upheaval, including the move to California, paid off. "It's kind of everything that I dreamed of," she said, with a gold medal around her neck. "It's almost too good to be true."