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Gracie Gold, the Olympian who first learned to skate while living in Springfield, is competing today in the Ladies Short Program in Sochi, Russia. Tonight, during NBC’s primetime coverage of the Games, residents will gather for a watch party to cheer her on, as KSMU’s Julie Greene reports.
It was just 11 years ago that a then-Wilder Elementary second-grader got her start in skating after becoming fascinated by the sport while celebrating her friend’s birthday at Mediacom Ice Park.
Gracie soon began taking skating lessons, which continued from late 2002 until 2007, before moving to Illinois to advance her training. Jeff Cumley, manager of the Jordan Valley Park, served in the same capacity when Gracie began skating.
“Even early on, she was a very good skater, and our coaches recognized that. I remember our figure skating director actually making that comment saying ‘Hey, I think she’s got something special, and it’s possible that she could go all the way,’ and by that, he meant the Olympics. But that’s Gracie, she’s a special kid, and I think we’re seeing the fruits of her labor now,” Cumley said.
As a competitor in the 2014 Winter Olympics, 18-year-old Gracie Gold is hoping to accomplish what her last name suggests—win the gold.
“Where she is today is 100% due to her hard work and dedication to the sport. I mean, there’s no doubt about that. You can’t get to the Olympics without hard work. She truly is the epitome of the Olympic dream in my opinion,” Cumley said.
Mediacom Ice Park is teaming up with local NBC-affiliate KY3 to present an Olympic watch party in her honor. The free event will take place at the Mediacom Ice Park tonight from 7-10:30 p.m. and will feature three former local Olympians.
For KSMU News, I’m Julie Greene.