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Gracie Gold Sits in First Place at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Image: Gracie Gold Sits in First Place at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

By Clyde Hughes   |   Friday, 10 Jan 2014 01:14 PM

Gracie Gold is becoming America's next Olympic figure skating sweetheart, after vaulting into first place at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Boston's TD Garden Thursday.

After finishing in second place in last year's U.S. championships, the 18-year-old Gold, scored 72.12 points, while Polina Edmunds came in second place with 66.75. Gold's score makes her a likely candidate for the three-woman for the U.S. Olympics team, according to the Boston Globe. The three-woman figure skating team for the Olympics will be announced Sunday, following a free skate on Saturday.

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"I had a wonderful performance tonight and I got a really great score," Gold told the Boston Globe. "It is a new short program and there were a couple of unknowns going into this event, but I'm really glad I was really able to just trust my training."

Edmunds, last year's junior champion, said that she is not counting herself out going to Saturday's free skate.

"I have been training this program like this all year, and I've competed at a lot of competitions this year internationally, so I know what happens and I know everything I need to do," Edmunds told the Boston Globe. "When I came out here tonight, I just knew how to get into the zone and just skate like I have been training. All of my competitions this year have really helped leading up to this and I’m really happy with how I skated."

USA Today reported Gold, who has always excelled in jumps, performed a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination with ease and never broke speed, unlike most skaters. 

"Amazing. It was one of my best shorts," Gold said. "To skate that well is amazing."

Gold got rid of her original short program after placing fourth at the NHK Trophy two months ago. Gold's first short program was criticized for being "too modern."

Choreographer Lori Nichol, who created some of Michelle Kwan's best programs, worked on Gold's new short that she unveiled on Thursday.

"Lori and I worked really hard on finding each step and transition that was already natural to me, so I didn't have to learn any new feelings or new body movements," Gold said.

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