With the United States 16 points behind Russia and nine points back from Canada, there wasn’t much Gracie Gold could do to close the gap in the chase for the team figure skating’s gold medal when she took the ice Sunday.
But the 18-year-old Gold made a terrific effort in her impressive Olympic debut—one that was rewarded with a standing ovation by her U.S. teammates and her season’s best marks.
Tapped to perform her free skate on the third and final day of the competition, Gold opened with a difficult triple-lutz-triple toe loop combination and followed soon after with a double axel-triple toe that established her technical chops. Skating to “Sleeping Beauty,” Gold looked every bit the fairy-tale princess in her sparkly pastel dress, which melted from shades of ice blue at the jeweled neck to lavender at the skirt.
She was scored a season’s best 129.38 points, which placed her first among two, ahead of/behind Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond (110.73).
The second woman of five to compete for their countries, Gold will be followed by Akiko Suzuki of Japan, Valentina Marchei of Italy and Russia’s 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia, who was the star of Saturday’s short programs. Even before the first woman took the ice, the crowd at the Iceberg Skating Palace was chanting “Yoo-lia!” “Yoo-lia,” and cheers erupted when her name was announced.
With two events to go, Russia leads the competition with 57 points, followed by Canada (50) and the U.S. (41).
The competition concludes with the dance free skates, in which the U.S. is favored.
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