Gracie Gold taking time away from skating to seek 'professional help'

Gracie Gold in action. (Getty)

Two-time world champion and Olympic team bronze medalist Gracie Gold has taken an abrupt leave of absence from figure skating, just months before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

“My passion for skating and training remains strong,” Gold said in a statement to USA Today announcing her leave. “However, after recent struggles on and off the ice, I realize I need to seek some professional help and will be taking some time off while preparing for my Grand Prix assignments. This time will help me become a stronger person, which I believe will be reflected in my skating performances as well.”

Gold did not indicate in any further detail the reasons why she would be seeking “professional help.” She had been scheduled to skate in October, but this release appears to indicate she will not return to the ice until her Grand Prix events scheduled for November in Beijing and Grenoble, France.

Gold, one of the U.S.’s premier Olympic athletes and projected as one of the brightest stars heading into the 2018 Games, has suffered considerable difficulty in her on-ice performances in recent months. She placed sixth at the national championships in January after winning the previous year, and did not even qualify for the world championships.

Gold, 22, has also spoken in the past about concerns over her weight. Earlier this week, 2014 team gold medalist Julia Lipnitskaia retired—at age 19—following months of treatment for anorexia.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.