The US Figure Skating Championships begin on Sunday, January 20, in Omaha, Nebraska. (Click here for icenetwork.com's live streaming schedule.) 17-year-old Gracie Gold (at right, photo credit IMG and Getty Images) from Chicago makes her senior debut at Nationals (she won juniors last year) and so much has already been written about this young lady! There was a lot of hype surrounding her two Grand Prix assignments -- Skate Canada and Cup of Russia. A dismal seventh place finish at Skate Canada left critics wondering "Maybe we've built her up too much." But then Gracie came roaring back at Cup of Russia and won the silver medal which left critics asking "Is she the next US star?"
Nationals should be very interesting this year with Ashley Wagner defending her title and all eyes on Gracie to see if she'll take one of the two spots on the World Team. (Worlds are in March in Canada.) Yesterday, two-time US champion Alissa Czisny withdrew from Nationals due to a hip injury. The ladies field is now wide open with Gracie, Christina Gao, Mirai Nagasu, Agnes Zawadzki, Caroline Zhang and others vying for the podium. Click here for complete list of ladies, men, pairs and ice dance entrants.
Gracie took the time do a fun little Q&A with me in a segment I like to call "Get to know Gracie in 20 questions..."
When was the last time you laughed really really hard?
GG: While playing with my new puppy, Yoshi #cutest,funniestpuppyever
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite color?
GG: Red is my power color!
What is your favorite television show?
GG: This is a three way tie: Bones, Modern Family, and my latest fav Downton Abbey.
Who are your favorite actors or actresses?
GG: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams
Who are your favorite singers?
GG: Ellie Goulding, Alicia Keyes and Lea Michele
If you could be any skater (past or present) for a day, who would it be and why?
GG: Hmmm. I think Mao Asada, so I know what a triple axel really feels like!
Do you have any rituals before you compete?
GG: I juggle as part of my warm up.
What is the first thing you notice about people?
GG: Their eyes.
What are you listening to right now?
GG: I'm listening to people talking and laughing (I'm sitting in a lobby!)
Are you a mountain cabin person or beach house person?
GG: Beach house, although they both sound appealing.
Other than skating, favorite sports to watch or play?
GG: I love watching gymnastics and diving.
What was the last movie you saw?
GG: Les Miserables. Loved it!
What is your favorite type of movie -- comedy, drama, horror?
GG: Comedies and dramas, depending on my mood.
Are you reading a book now?
GG: I am reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (it's a psychological thriller!)
Favorite city thus far since you've traveled so much for skating?
GG: Hard to choose. I guess Tokyo, but I have loved traveling to every place I've been able to visit.
Hidden talent that people don't know about?
GG: I am amazing at Hide and Seek and a jigsaw puzzle wizard.
If you weren't a skater, you would probably be...
GG: A gymnast.
To get away from the pressures of being an elite skater, you relax by...
GG: Reading, watching movies, and knitting.
Your advice to all the aspiring skaters out there who want to be in your position one day is this:
GG: "Champions keep playing until they get it right." Billie Jean King. Strive for excellence, not perfection!
Video below, Gracie Gold skates at Rockefeller Rink for the Today show on Friday, January 11.