She goes by the name Gracie Gold.
Here is the link to the icenetwork page about Gracie: ####://web.icenetwork.com/skaters/detail.jsp?id=101391
Also, I know her aunt, and the family calls her Gracie.
She's a lovely and athletic skater as well as a level-headed young woman, and I have high hopes that she will be the "star" that fans have been looking for since Michelle Kwan stopped competing.
Yes, I certainly agree!
I remember when Ashley Wagner first came onto the competition scene at the Senior Level, I said (on this forum) that she had "star-potential".
Americans love a beautiful woman who is also strong physically.
I just hope she has a good agent. Lately, it seems that the agents who represent figure skaters just aren't beating the pavement to position their clients before the public. I can see why this might be a challenge when the client fails to produce wins, but Ashley Wagner is doing her job. Time for the agent to do theirs.
I'm concerned about one thing. I heard from people who were there that Wagner was rather rude at the ISI World Champs exhibition this summer. Kids were really disappointed. I hope that this was just a "fluke," or that the people I talked to were taking an "extreme" view not shared by everyone else at the competition. Yes, Americans love beauty and strength, but above both of those traits, they value friendliness, especially when it comes to interactions with children. Figure skaters really do have to have "the complete package" if they have any aspirations to be "stars."
About the ISI Worlds thing: I heard she acted like she "didn't want to be there" not really rude per se. The other Ashley (Cain) was very good with the kids, though. It could have been timing or something else pressing, so I hope it was a one off...
Yes, Ashley is certainly a beautiful young woman. She kind of reminds me of Nancy Kerrigan with her looks and success later in her career like Kerrigan had. I think Ashley's personality sets her apart from the other girls. She's not afraid to tell it like it is.
However, I disagree that Americans value friendliness. You don't make it in the industry by being friendly. Americans want to see some attitude, maybe even some controversy along the way. That may not be a good thing, but that's how you make a name for yourself in the 21st century.
I can go along with the idea that Americans like "attitude." Lady Gaga is a great example, as is Simon Cowell, Adele, various NFL players (e.g., Tebow), etc.
But I don't think Americans want to see "attitude" from their figure skaters. I think the Tonya Harding scandal did immense harm to the sport, and many parents stay far away from involvement with the sport of figure skating because they don't want their children to grow up with "attitude" like Harding.
Americans want their female figure skaters to be "princesses." Many Americans are still not seeing figure skating as a "sport,' but as an "art." That means they don't see figure skaters as "athletes" but as "ethereal ice fairies who float about effortlessly and don't have to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom like real human beings."
Oh, brother. But until the internet came along and broke down the "fairy" myths, that's what I thought about female figure skaters--they were too beautiful to be real.
I think that Gracie Gold has the right idea and the perfect balance. She is tough on the ice, and charming and well-spoken off the ice. She gives the impression of practicality and common sense. What a great role model! Many many mothers and dads will want their daughters to be just like Gracie. She's "The Face of 21st Century Figure Skating."
Wagner is certainly in the ballpark, too, and if properly positioned by a good public relations agent AND if she continues to win--she will gain back a lot of good feelings about the sport of figure skating.
Let's just hope these ladies can stay injury-free.
I'm liking Wagner on the ice --her grace, command of herself and the ice, her merging of the story she is telling, her growth in her skating ... there's lots here to like. However, one doesn't have to be rude to have strong boundaries and an attitude. Meryl Davis is a great example of strong boundaries; she's gracious, smiles a lot, and makes people think that she likes herself, her "job" and them. However, when she's not "on", she's invisible. She's also tough. Wagner could take some lessons from her. No one likes to be snubbed by a person/skater they follow and admire. Attitude is one thing; b*tchiness is another.
Personally, while I love to watch her skate, I have little respect for her behavior. I hope she does well, and am especially rooting for Gracie and Aggie. Technically, they are better; if they can develop their presence as Ashley has, Ashley's in touble. Just mho. :-)
Okay, but everyone has different personalities and attitudes, so no one should expect Ashley to be exactly like Meryl Davis. I think the big difference between Ashley and some of the other skaters is that she's honest and tells it like it is. A lot of those nice girls are fake, and just pretend to like everything and everyone. Ashley is a nice girl and I don't see anything b*tchy about her.
And I'll be rooting for her to defend her national title especially since Michelle Kwan was the last lady to defend back in 2005. It would be fantastic to finally have another repeat ladies champion in the US again. And I don't think Gracie nor Aggie are better jumpers since Ashley is more consistent than both of them, and also covers some nice distance and height on her jumps with very clean rotation in the air. Her jumping ability is far overlooked in my opinion. Gracie and Aggie's technique is sometimes shaky, and Gracie should stop trying the triple loop. It's always so off balance, sloppy, and she always doubles it.
I personally think that all "celebs" have a responsibility to behave themselves around children and teenagers. Many of the celebs that have a "sassy attitude" make megamillions of dollars and have millions of fans worldwide, so they can get away with being a little uppity.
But no figure skater, with the possible exception of Katarina Witt (who, BTW, is extremely kind and courteous to her fans, especialy children), can say that they have millions of fans these days. Thousands, maybe, if they come from a big figure skating club (e.g., DuPage FSC has many hundreds of members), but in all likelihood, the majority of Americans has no idea who any of the current competitive figure skaters are. Figure skaters just can't afford to dis ANY potential fans.
Also, many of the celebs with the baddest attitude are incredibly good to children and are involved in charities that help children. Many of these celebs spend time, often anonymously, visiting children's hospitals and other charitable outreaches. It's obvious that their "attitude" is just an act, and that they are softies in real life.
In fact, I think that ALL of us have a responsibility to behave ourselves around children and teenagers. Yes, we can have an "attitude" and be "b'tchy", but with only with adults who are our intellectual equals and have the chops to speak up in response to rudeness, and who have the maturity to understand that not everyone is our friend and not everyone will be kind and sweet toward us.
Figure skaters especially are in a tenuous position. These days, figure skaters don't draw in enough fans to make corporate sponsorship a sure thing. Companies like Motts' (applesauce, etc.) market their products to families with young children, and if they find that one of their "sponsorees" is being rude or indifferent to children, they could choose to pull their sponsorship and give it to an athletic association where the athletes ARE kind to children.
Also, the travelling ice shows (there are a few around; e.g., the DIsson shows that are broadcast on network TV, and also the Cuties shows that feature Johnny Weir) are invaluable public relations tools for the sport of figure skating, and these shows are heavily marketed to families with children. If the word gets out that the skaters (even just one skater) are rude to little ones and young teens, then these shows may lose their audience and eventually have to fold.
Finally, I think that even if there is no rudeness, but just a "Ho-Hum" attitude towards an event (e.g., the ISI National Exhibition), this shows bad manners. When we accept, of our own free will, an invitation for any event, we need to step up and act graciously towards our host(ess) and the other guests. If we have bad feelings about an event and would prefer not to attend, then we need to graciously decline the invitation so that the event planners can have the time to invite someone else who WOULD love to come.
I don't expect Wagner to act "just like Meryl Davis" or just like anyone else, but I *would* expect her to be gracious at an event she agreed to appear at (John Nicks' seminar at ISI Worlds) and not behave like it's an inconvenience. She was the "star" of the seminar and her demeanor turned off people who HAD been her fan up until then (even when she had several down seasons, they had rooted for her). One person said she would root for "anyone other than Ashley" after that at Nationals and said they were disappointed in her attitude. Like it or not, "honest" or "fake", you need to be gracious (which is different than being "fake")and hide that feeling in front of your fans at an event like that as this was more than just a group of "casual fans" from the stands.
Several years ago, Fumie Suguri, a reigning World medalist at the time, was working with a coach in the Chicago area and skated at the DuPage Open to get feedback on her new programs. She was mobbed by all the lower level skaters while she was at the rink (and that included during her pre-event off ice warm up and after the 6 minute event warm up, athough her coach kept shooing people away) for pictures and autographs and the like. She NEVER acted like it was an inconvenience and while her English language skills were lacking somewhat when trying to converse with her, she was VERY gracious to everyone and never gave any indication that it was an inconvenience or a bother, even though I am SURE that it had to be before her event and after the warm up. While it is an extreme example, I would expect something more along those lines from a star in dealing with their public.
BTW, Gold's 3Lo is FINE. She can land it very well in practice (it's as big as her Lz, F, and T) and consistently, she has issues with the transitions that Scott Brown put in after the previous element into the 3Lo because she isn't carrying the same speed into it as she does when practicing it out of the program. Knowing Gold, she's working with Brown (and Ouriashev) on that segment and the segment with the second 3Lz (which she has missed 3 times in competition) so that she can generate more speed going in and land both more consistently in the program. There's no reason to drop something you can do consistently from your program, you adjust your program to show off that skill...
OK --Cali012, I certainly don't expect Ashley to be Meryl Davis, but she sure could use some of Meryl's graciousness. I've heard Meryl asked some pretty rude, stupid and/or off-color questions, and she answered with graciousness and a smile. It cost her nothing, but could have helped her gain additional respect from her fans and even the inept interviewers who asked the question. Honesty is wonderful, but sometimes people use the excuse of being honest to be rude or indfifferent. That is not acceptable from celebrities or, in fact, from anyone. Ashley is a beautiful skater; this, however, is not license for rudeness or acting as though she is better than anyone else. We never know when we will meet another again, and how our positions in life might change in the meantime.
Fan1, one of the reasons that DuPage FSC has so many members, is that DuPage County can so afford to pay for their kids to skate, take lessons, have the best of everything. DuPage County -- one of the few places in this country where yearly property taxes on a home on a small lot cost more than the price of a mid-sized car. :-) (Western Chicago suburbs were my old stamping grounds when I was a kid through my early 20's. It always amazes me when I go back there and one more field is "home" to one more subdivision.)
I, also, am hoping Ashley will successfully defend her title this year ... neither Gracie nor Aggie are ready to be #1. And I also believe that Ashley's skating deserves to be recognized in this manner. I just wish her demeanor was as pretty as her program and gorgeous golden dress, because, you know --pretty is as pretty does.
...a good PR person might be able to put a spin on a skater and play up this "attitude" thing. It might actually work.
But if the good PR person doesn't get hold of this, I fear that any skater with an attitude may crash and burn just like Nancy Kerrigan did after she mortally insulted Disney and Company.
I guess if I were any skater these days, I would get myself a small tattoo on my wrist that said, "Millions." I would think of all the money that my parents spent, and all the things that the family did without so that I could skate, and I would keep looking at that tattoo and thinking of all the money that I could earn just by being nice, and all the money I could lose by being surly, and then I would smile really big and fake it until it feels real.
I honestly think that if Lady Gaga thought she could be as rich as she is by acting "sweet," she would do so. People do what they need to do to make money.
Gotta love it.
Great post, fan1! So true. Millions, huh? Nothing like a skating mom whose kids did it and did it well speaking from her heart, from the memories of thousands of miles driven over how many hours (?) and from her pocketbook!