Gold to test waters with Carroll in Los AngelesSkater says she needs a coach who can help her control her emotions
With less than five months to go before the Olympic Winter Games, Gracie Gold has parted ways with Alex Ouriashev, the Chicago-area coach who brought her to the U.S. silver medal and a sixth-place finish at the last season's world championships.
The move occurred about three weeks ago, just before U.S. Figure Skating's Champs Camp. Since then, Gold has trained in Canton, Mich., under Marina Zoueva and Oleg Epstein.
"Things change, people change, situations change, and our relationship just stopped working at the level we needed it to," Gold, 18, said in an interview after her free skate at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, where she placed second to Courtney Hicks.
"Alex and I had a lot of success together. He is a wonderful jump technician. We had so many great successes, and that is why I am here."
Gold will travel to Los Angeles, where she will work for about a week with Frank Carroll at the Toyota Sports Center. No decision has yet been made on whether the move will be permanent or temporary.
"I don't need to be yelled at and sort of pushed into it," Gold said. "My motivation comes from within. I need someone who can help me control my emotions and my skating, and define it into the way we want it to go.
"Frank is arguably one of the best coaches in the country. He has had so many champions, and I just want to go and see if I really like it and if it's a good fit."
The 74-year-old Carroll, a member of both the United States and World Figure Skating halls of fame, coached Michelle Kwan to the 1998 Olympic silver medal and the first four of her five world titles. His current crop includes Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and world silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan.
Figure skaters changing coaches in September of an Olympic season is unusual, but as Gold noted, it has been done before with success.
"It was pretty obvious the relationship just wasn't working and we needed a change," she said. "We had been in rough waters for a little bit, and the ups and downs started to be more drastic.
"September is better than October; it's better than November, it's better than December. I know that [Shizuka] Arakawa left her coach two months before the Olympics, and it worked out for her. It's hard to say when the ideal time is."
(Arakawa left Tatiana Tarasova's group in November 2005 to train with Nikoli Morozov. She won the 2006 Olympic gold medal a few months later.)
If Gold does decide to make her move to Carroll permanent, the veteran coach will gain not one but two new students. Gracie's twin sister, Carly, who hopes to qualify for the senior ladies event at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, will join her.
"Carly will go wherever I go; she is my biggest fan and just wants to support me at this time," Gracie said. "She just wants the best for me, which is so admirable. We're sort of a package deal, so if you have one of us, you have the two of us."