Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold opened up about her private struggles with mental health and figure skating in an exclusive interview with NBC’s “TODAY” Tuesday.
After winning her first U.S. Figure Skating Championship in 2014 and earning a spot on the Sochi Winter Olympics team, Gold began to feel the pressures of elite figure skating. Her mental health started to deteriorate as the self-destructive voice in her head grew, a voice Gold titled her memoir — “Out of Shape Destructive Loser” — after.
Gold took a break from competing in 2017 to seek treatment for what was publicly announced as an eating disorder and anxiety. In reality, she was dealing with suicidal thoughts.
“It wasn’t ‘palatable’ is the word that they used for the world and specifically the skating community,” Gold told Savannah Guthrie on “TODAY“ Tuesday. “We don’t talk about those things out loud, but for me, it wasn’t gossip or hearsay. It was my story. I was in the middle of Arizona in rehab in the middle of a season, and I felt like an honest answer was appropriate.”
In the memoir, Gold opens up for the first time about being raped by a fellow skater at 21 years old.
“I had to put it in the memoir because it was a huge turning point in my life in terms of we turned and went downhill pretty quickly after that,” Gold said. “I set out to write not a fluffy sports memoir, but a real hard-hitting memoir that was dark at times, funny at others, and it felt inauthentic to leave that chapter of my life out.”
Gold reported the incident to U.S. Figure Skating and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, but a resolution has not been reached.
In a statement to NBC News, the U.S. Center for SafeSport said the organization is “conducting a thorough review of this case and is determined to understand the reasons for the unacceptable delay.”
Gold said the challenge of writing the memoir was still making people enjoy the sport despite her love-hate relationship with it.
“I still love skating, but it was how I coped with everything around it, and some parts of the culture and some people in the sport that I think need to change and be a little more progressive,” Gold said.
The two-time U.S. figure skating champion has returned to skating as a coach.