Two-time skating champ Gold tells of crushing battle with depression

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Two-time US figure skating champion Gracie Gold said in a New York Times interview published Friday that she battled suicidal thoughts as she struggled with depression that has disrupted her life and career.

"I was suicidal for months," Gold told the Times, describing dark days when she was living in Detroit three years after a sparkling 2014 season brought her to the attention of the skating world.

"If I had just continued the way I was in Detroit, I'd probably be dead," said Gold, who was shutting out her family and gorging on food after years of limiting her calories.

Gold, 23, appeared to have a bright future on ice when she won a 2014 Olympic team bronze medal and finished fourth in the individual women's event.

But her bid to make the 2018 Games evaporated amid her mental health troubles, and her attempt to return to the sport last November saw her finish 10th in the short program before withdrawing from the free skate at a Grand Prix event in Russia.

She is not competing this week in the 2019 US championships in Detroit.

Gold recalled developing concerns about her weight before the 2014 Olympics that prompted her to drastically cut her calorie intake.

"The more weight I lost, the quicker and faster I felt on the ice," said Gold, who shrugged off her mother's concerns that she was too thin.

After earning a second national title, she was devastated to finish out of the medals at the 2016 World Championships and at a US team training camp that year teammate Ashley Wagner realized Gold was struggling.

It would be another year before Gold "snapped" at another training camp and was finally persuaded to enter an in-patient treatment program for eating disorders, with US Figure Skating covering the cost.

Now, Gold told the Times, she is training again, and getting into shape with a healthier diet and a new coach.

She said her return to the sport feels like a new beginning, describing the sense of accomplishment she felt when she completed a clean triple Lutz.

"You forget how magical those moments are," Gold said.