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Gracie Gold withdraws from U.S. figure skating championships

Gracie Gold withdraws from U.S. figure skating championships
American Gracie Gold was in first place after the women's short program at the figure skating world championships in Boston on March 31, 2016. (Geoff Robins / AFP/Getty Images)

Two-time U.S. figure skating champion Gracie Gold, who finished fourth at the 2014 Winter Olympics and was considered a potential medalist in Pyeongchang, South Korea, withdrew from the U.S. figure skating championships on Friday, citing ongoing treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. That effectively closes the door on her chance to compete at the Games in February.

Gold, who trained in El Segundo for three years before she split with coach Frank Carroll, previously withdrew from her Grand Prix assignments this season for the same reasons she cited for pulling out of the U.S. championships.

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The U.S. figure skating team for the Pyeongchang Games will be announced after the national championships in San Jose in early January. The results of that competition typically determine the Olympic team, but there is precedent for granting a medical exemption, as Michelle Kwan received for the 2006 Turin Games after a groin injury kept her out of the U.S. championships.

However, Gold's chances are minimal because she hasn't competed this season and wouldn't be at the same fitness or performance level as her peers. And it's unlikely she would petition for an exemption while she's still in treatment.

"It breaks my heart to withdraw from the 2018 U.S. Championships," Gold said in a statement released by her publicist. "I have not had adequate training time in order to perform at the level at which I want to. It pains me to not compete in this Olympic season, but I know it's for the best. I wish everyone the best of luck and will be cheering you all on. I want to thank everyone for the ongoing love and support. It means the world to me."

An elegant and technically skilled skater whose beauty and vibrant personality brought her many commercial endorsements, Gold contributed to a U.S. team bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She won the U.S. title in 2016 and finished fourth at the world championships, but her results began to decline as she found it difficult to muster consistent performances. She finished sixth at this year's U.S. championships and didn't qualify for the world championships. Soon after, she left Southern California for Canton, Mich.

The U.S. can send three women to compete in the singles event in Pyeongchang, along with three men's singles entrants, one pair, and three ice dance teams.

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