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In February 2017, Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold, who had been thrilling fans with her on ice skill and who helped Team USA win a bronze medal in the Winter Games Sochi 2014, appeared on NBC’s Today Show and shared her personal struggle with mental illness.
“I was ‘America’s sweetheart’ or I was ‘the golden girl,’ and I just, I was afraid to be real with my struggles because then I wouldn’t be, like, as perfect as the media saw me,” Gold told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in a “TODAY” interview that aired Friday morning.
The interview was the first time the 23-year-old has, on camera, detailed the personal struggles that had kept her mostly off the ice for several seasons. Those struggles began shortly after Sochi and included battles with depression and an eating disorder that started with an offhanded remark from a coach.
“It just got more and more extreme until it was just like, unbearable,” she said.
A fourth-place finish at the 2016 world championships – her second consecutive time finishing just off the podium at a major international competition – proved to be a crushing result for the rising star. Gold continued to train, but her mental health worsened. At one point, she even papered over mirrors so she would not have to look at herself and even contemplated suicide. She withdrew from planned competitions, including the 2018 national championships at which she had been a two-time champion.
While acknowledging she still struggles with those feelings, with treatment, she has her sights set on returning to the sport’s biggest stages.
Gracie Gold will speak at The MHCGM’s 20th Annual Celebration for Mental Health Dinner & Awards Benefit on Monday, October 21 at The Derryfield Country Club. For more information or to purchase tickets or tables for the benefit event, click here.