Olympic success changes fame label for skaters

LSY! sports editor Hailey Rose Gattuso, left, and teen editor Francesca Harvey, right, join Olympic skaters Jeremy Abbott, Meryl Davis, Gracie Gold and Charlie White at the Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular. (Photo by Tim O'Shei)

LSY! sports editor Hailey Rose Gattuso, left, and teen editor Francesca Harvey, right, join Olympic skaters Jeremy Abbott, Meryl Davis, Gracie Gold and Charlie White at the Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular. (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

After the Sochi Olympics, there’s plenty of hype surrounding ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White and figure skaters Gracie Gold and Jeremy Abbott, among others.

But funny enough, when we interviewed them one year earlier at the Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular, none of them considered themselves to be celebrities.

“We don’t have a lot of cons (of fame) because we aren’t that famous,” Meryl said.

At the time, they weren’t.

But that’s changed.

Hard work has paid off quite a bit for both Charlie and Meryl since we spoke with them. They won the ice dance gold medal, marking the first time in history that the U.S. has held this title.

Gracie Gold also provided an impressive performance earning the U.S. a bronze medal in the team ladies free skating, and by getting fourth even after some unsteady landings in the ladies short program.

Unfortunately, Gracie faced a setback in this year’s Olympics when she fell during the women’s figure skating individual program. Fortunately, she has learned how to overcome problems like these as it is not her first time struggling in her sport.

She’s overcome mental blocks, injuries, and not qualifying for Nationals as a junior but she said, “I had dreams and goals and had to push past them to achieve what I knew I could.”

When I asked her what inspired her to keep going she shared: ”My love of skating. I have a twin sister who believed in me. I’m really close with my parents and they just keep pushing me. Even when I didn’t believe in myself, they believed in me so that really helped me through.”

Each of these figure skaters has had to overcome multiple obstacles to get where they are now. For Jeremy Abbott, he was a late bloomer and didn’t reach his full potential as a figure skater until he was in his 20’s, which is very late in that sport. However, he didn’t let that stop him.

“I had goals and dreams and knew I had the potential to achieve them,” he said.

Jeremy also grew up in a small town where he only skated about three days a week, and didn’t start seriously training until he was about 14 or 15. When he was 17 he had a stress fracture in his back that took him out of skating for months. He’s had disc problems in his back and has suffered from a hip injury.

Most athletes get injuries but having a positive outlook on the healing process can make all the difference on the road to recovery.

“It’s about being smart and finding ways around an injury or setback to keep working towards your goals,” Jeremy said.

Jeremy had to apply his own advice after he took a hard fall, but then got back up and finished his routine in the men’s short program over a week ago.

He told us, “Don’t give up. If you have a goal and a passion for something, keep working on it.”

He showed us what it means to do that, too.

— Hailey Rose Gattuso, LSY! sports editor, Mount St. Mary Academy

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