The question about reigning U.S. figure skating champion Gracie Gold always has been her inconsistency, especially when it counts most internationally.
This time, on a Thursday conference call advancing the World Championships beginning Mar. 30 in Boston, the question was phrased in terms of how much confidence she could gain from knowing her coach, Frank Carroll, had produced big event “money” skaters like Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek.
Gold answered it by saying, “They weren’t always perfect. Michelle kind of was the every-other-year girl.”
Gold undoubtedly was referring to Kwan’s having won her first three of five world titles only in even-numbered years (1996-98-2000) and then, after breaking that pattern, the final two in odd-numbered years (2001-03).
The odd-even thing was something Kwan joked about in 2000 and 2001.
But Gold’s analysis is just plain silly.
In the “other" years between her world titles, Kwan won silver medals. And she won bronze in an “other” year, 2004, giving her medals in nine straight worlds, a streak topped only by Sonja Henie’s 10 straight golds from 1927 through 1936.
(Kwan also won a record-tying nine U.S. titles, including a record-setting eight in a row. She won medals in back-to-back Olympics, which no U.S. woman had done in a four-year Olympic cycle since Carol Heiss in 1956-60.)
So far, Gold can only dream of being an “every-other-year girl.” In fact, she has been more of an every-other-program girl, unable to do a strong skate in both the short and long programs at the same global championship.
So Gold is 0-for-3 in medals at worlds, 0-for-1 at the Olympics. Adding her three Four Continents and one Grand Prix Final appearances, she is 0-for-8 in the biggest events.
“There have times when I have delivered it,” she said. “We just need to do it at the World Championships.”
After an eighth and fourth in her first two worlds, when she was 13 and 14 years old, Kwan missed the podium again only in her final worlds (4th in 2005.). In five Grand Prix / Champions Series Finals, she had one gold and four silvers.
(By the way: Lysacek missed the podium just once in four world meets, winning the title in 2009. He won the 2010 Olympics and was fourth in 2006. He was five-for-six at the Four Continents, with two golds, and 2-for-2 at the Grand Prix Final, with one gold.)
To be fair, Gold has won U.S. titles in 2014 and 2016. That's every other year, right?