SOCHI, Russia -- Gracie Gold has always competed in an individual sport, but what she did Sunday was the equivalent of hitting a game-winning double.
A career-best free skate score and second place in that segment by the 18-year-old iced a bronze medal in the new team figure skating event and gave Gold the confidence she can perform well on the world's biggest stage when she comes back to compete solo in 10 days' time.
Gold said she was "thrilled, and definitely relieved" to have executed under pressure. She and all the skaters in Sochi who took on an extra competitive program or two are in new territory, but she said she feels her evening ultimately will be far more adrenalizing than fatiguing.
"I thought at first maybe it would be a little bit tiring, but there are days where I do two -- or, if I don't skate very well, three -- long programs in a day," Gold said. "So if I can't handle two longs with a 10-day (break) in between, I have more training to do."