SOCHI, Russia – Gracie Gold refused to be disheartened by her fourth-place finish in the ladies individual figure skating competition in Sochi and insisted it will spur her on to chase success in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Gold fell in her long program on Thursday night and missed out on a medal but vowed to try to follow in the footsteps of previous American Olympic stars who have suffered similar disappointment.
"There are tons of great names who have got fourth in their first Olympics, and they just kept with it for the next quad," Gold said. "Evan Lysacek won and Sasha Cohen got second and other people have got second and third, so I am among good company."
Lysacek finished fourth in Torino in 2006 but bounced back strongly, winning the world championship three years later before going on to his ultimate triumph, a thrilling Olympic victory at Vancouver in 2010, where he outlasted Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko to claim gold.
Cohen ended up fourth as Sarah Hughes took gold in Salt Lake City in 2002, but secured second spot behind Japan's Shizuka Arakawa four years later.
Gold had no hesitation in deciding to attack another four-year cycle, where she will hope to force her way onto the podium. South Korean silver medalist Yuna Kim and Italy's Carolina Kostner, who placed third, are unlikely to return, while champion Adelina Sotnikova will probably be back if she retains form and fitness.
"I really would love to be on the 2018 team," Gold said. "Being only 18 and just starting on this skating career, it really only makes sense. I would just be 22; it would seem silly to stop skating at 20 years old when I have already come so far in such a short amount of time. So the next quad should be really interesting and really fun.
"It has been wonderful and such an amazing opportunity. The Olympics are crazy and nerve-racking, but it is a time when all the athletes can come together.”
Teammates Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds also voiced their intention to return when the Olympic cycle moves to Pyeongchang in South Korea, a nation, just like Russia, where figure skating enjoys enormous popularity.
The difficulty of returning for a second Olympics should not be underestimated, however. American Mirai Nagasu looked to have the world at her feet when she finished fourth in Vancouver as a 16-year-old, but she subsequently lost form and was eventually overlooked in place of Wagner, despite finishing ahead of her at the U.S. Nationals last month.
Wagner will be 26 next time around, and Edmunds will be only 19. Edmunds, the 15-year-old from San Jose, Calif., was pleased to be able to use Sochi as a learning experience and to come in ninth place.
"To experience the Olympics is just amazing, and it really makes me want to come back in four years and be like some of the other skaters right now who are fighting for a medal," Edmunds said. "I really want to be in a good spot for the next Olympics. I just want to keep training, and I know that anything can happen."
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