Skater Gracie Gold has comeback plans after long break from competition

Gracie Gold skated on the Today Show to mark one year from the 2018 Olympics, but she missed the Olympic season to deal with psychological issues.  (Getty Images.)

Gracie Gold skated on the Today Show to mark one year from the 2018 Olympics, but she missed the Olympic season to deal with psychological issues.  (Getty Images.)

Gracie Gold is apparently coming back to competitive figure skating after a lengthy absence from the sport to cope with eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

The two-time U.S. senior champion and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in the team event received a berth in the Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix competition at Moscow this November.  The International Skating Union announced the Grand Prix assignments Thursday.

She has not competed since the January 2017 U.S. Championships.

Gold was unavailable for comment Thursday.

A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday that she is currently being coached by former French world team member Vincent Restencourt in Aston, Pa.

The Ice Den in Scottsdale, Ariz., announced in early February that Gold was going to be on its coaching team.   It is unclear whether she began that job and, if so, how long she stayed.  

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A June 11 post on her Instagram feed said she was doing "Lessons with Headliners" at the Columbus, Ohio, "Skate it Forward" June 15 & 17.

Gold, who turns 23 in August, announced last September she was taking time off from the sport to seek professional help yet hoped to compete last season.  In October, she withdrew from her two scheduled Grand Prix competitions and specified the nature of her problems.  A month after that, she withdrew from the 2018 U.S. Championships, ending her chances to contend for a spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic team.

Throughout that period, Gold was courageously open in admitting to the issues she was facing.

She was a spectator at the 2018 nationals, where her Twitter feed was full of lively and occasionally snarky remarks.

Gold’s former coach, Frank Carroll, terminated their working relationship after she staggered to sixth at the 2017 nationals and missed the world team for the first time in her five-year senior career.  It was the end of a season in which Gold had skated poorly in all four of her competitions.

In February 2017, Gold announced she was moving from Los Angeles to the Detroit suburbs to work with coaches Marina Zoueva and Oleg Epstein.  Four months later, she told she would use music Barbra Streisand's "Funny Girl" as her Olympic season short program and from the ballet "La Bayadère" as her free skate.   But Gold never got to skate those programs competitively before she stepped away from skating.

The 2018-19 season will be one of transition for U.S. women singles skaters.

The U.S. has just two women’s spots at the 2019 worlds, with reigning national champion Bradie Tennell heavily favored to earn one.  The second spot is up for grabs since veterans Ashley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu both have announced they will skip the Grand Prix next fall, and it seems unlikely either will compete at all next season – if ever again.

The other top U.S. woman over the past two seasons, 2017 U.S. champion and 2018 Olympian Karen Chen, needs to rebound from an unsettlingly mediocre 11th-place performance at the Olympics last February.

Gold was fourth at the 2014 Olympics (best by a U.S. woman) and also fourth at both the 2015 and 2016 world meets.  But she struggled to shake the disappointment of missing the world podium in 2016 with a poor free skate after having won the short program.

Until then, Gold looked solidly on track to make another Olympics.  She had won the U.S. title in 2014 and 2016 and was second in 2013 and 2015.