Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold has revealed that at the height of her struggle with mental illness she was ‘suicidal for months’ and covered every mirror in her home because ‘she could not stand the sight of herself.’
In a candid interview with the
Gold recalled being so depressed while hiding out in Detroit, Michigan, in 2017 that she imagined taking her own life and no one finding her body until her landlord came to collect her rent.
Opening up: Gracie Gold, pictured competing at the Grand Prix in November, has revealed she was ‘suicidal for months’ at the height of her depression
Healthy and happy: Gold, pictured left with her fraternal twin Carly, returned to training nine months ago after seeking treatment for for depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder in 2017
She struggled to muster up the energy to brush her teeth or hair, and she sometimes slept as much as 24 hours. She kept the lights off so often that one of her monthly electric bills was less than $20.
‘I was suicidal for months,’ Gold told the Times. ‘If I had just continued the way I was in Detroit, I’d probably be dead.’
The figure skating star admitted that she never understood the depths of mental illness until she experienced it herself, admitting: ‘I’d hear someone say, “I’m so depressed,” and I’d think, “Tough it out.”‘
In September 2017, Gold first announced she was taking a break from training in order to seek professional help after going through ‘struggles on and off the ice.’
A month later, she revealed she was in treatment for depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder as she announced her withdrawal from the Grand Prix Series.
According to Gold, her troubles with food began when she weighed herself in front of a coach and was told 124lbs was a ‘big number.’
She had never counted calories before, but the comment led her to search for weight-loss tips online, where she came across a post from someone who wrote about consuming 200 to 400 calories per day.
Unhealthy practices: Gold said she started severely restricting her calories ahead of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia (pictured)
Looking back: ‘The more weight I lost, the quicker and faster I felt on the ice,’ said Gold, who is pictured at an exhibition gala at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014
Leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, she went from eating about 2,000 calories a day to meals consisting of one tomato and multiple cups of coffee.
‘The more weight I lost, the quicker and faster I felt on the ice,’ Gold told the Times, recalling how people started saying that she looked ‘amazing.’
When she helped the U.S. Figure Skating team with the bronze in Sochi, she said she weighed 118lbs.
‘I almost created this other person,’ she said, adding: ‘I wanted to be the most flawless, angelic, plastic, Barbie-doll-face human who just says all the right things and does all the right things and is sterling. And people just don’t like her because she’s so perfect.’
At the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, Gold was ‘devastated’ when she came in fourth place. Within months, she gained 20lbs while going through what the Times described as ‘binge-purge cycles.’
Gold’s rival Ashley Wagner was actually the one who alerted a skating official that something was wrong with her but attempts to get her professional help were ignored.
The athlete didn’t take the time she needed, and by the summer of 2017, she was at her breaking point. When she attended one of U.S. Figure Skating’s regular monitoring sessions in Colorado Springs, she was 50lbs heavier, out of shape, and unable to raise a smile.
Hard times: Gold, pictured in January 2017, recalled being so depressed that year she struggled to muster up the energy to brush her teeth or hair
Depths of despair: The athlete imagined taking her own life and no one finding her body until her landlord came to collect her rent
Easing in: Gold returned to the ice in November during the Grand Prix in Moscow, where she finished in 10th place in the short program
Gold’s lackluster performance was such a fall from grace that some of the judges cried while delivering their critiques, according to the Times.
The figure skater said she ‘snapped’ at that moment, and her outburst led staff members to persuade her to seek treatment. U.S Figure Skating covered the cost of her entry into an inpatient program for eating disorders at The Meadows in Arizona.
‘I just dropped off the face of the earth for 45 days,’ she said. ‘It was liberating.’
While undergoing treatment, she withdrew from the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which took her out of consideration for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.
Gold moved to Philadelphia last spring to work with her a new coach, Vincent Restencourt and started training again nine months ago.
Restencourt eats with his new trainee once a week to make sure she is easing into her weight loss in a healthy way.
She told the Times that she has lost more than 30lbs since June as the result of healthier eating, and she has been giving skating lessons to both children and adults.
Old friend: A few weeks ago, Gold took to Instagram to pay tribute to U.S. figure skating champion John Coughlin, who committed suicide on January 18
Mourning: Gold shared several photos of herself on the ice with Coughlin last spring, when they were teaching skaters in Kansas City, Missouri
Gold returned to the ice in November during the Grand Prix in Moscow, where she finished in 10th place in the short program.
Realizing she was not ready to compete in this year’s national championship in Detroit, she withdrew from the competition two weeks before she was supposed to hit the ice.
When she does unveil her new long program, she revealed she will be skating to Sara Bareilles’s ‘She Used to Be Mine.’
Earlier this month, Gold took to Instagram to pay tribute to U.S. figure skating champion John Coughlin, who committed suicide on January 18, one day after he was suspended from the sport over several allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gold shared several photos of herself on the ice with Coughlin last spring, when they were teaching skaters in Kansas City, Missouri.
‘We all have our own truths. John Coughlin was my friend-a wonderful friend,’ she wrote. ‘I was 9 years old when we met, just learning to skate. Over the years I knew him, he inspired me, supported me, and made me laugh.
‘During my darkest days, his was an encouraging voice, telling me things would be okay. Recently we teamed up, providing seminars to a new generation of skaters,’ she continued.
‘I loved every minute of it. I remember John’s exuberance and passion for the sport and the people in it. John Coughlin made a positive difference in my life and many others. This is the truth I know. Rest In Peace, my friend, I will miss you.’