Shattering the Ice Princess: Gracie Gold Reveals Her Real Self

“[I’m] continuing to put one foot in front of the other and being okay with not knowing where I’m going and that the universe will bring me where I’m meant to go.”

Episode 02

Continuing in our series of Embracing Change, Jen talks with an elite athlete who found their life caving in, leaving themselves with no other choice than to flow with the transitions. In this candid conversation, Jen and Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold delve into Gracie’s battles with mental health, disordered eating, and the intense pressures of elite athletics.

Gracie’s story speaks to immense strength – navigating the insidious grip of an eating disorder that spanned longer than many of her close relationships. Gracie recounts how the illusion of control through restrictive eating eventually triggered a “nuclear meltdown” forcing her to confront the compounding traumas.

Jen and Gracie explore:

  • The toxic underbelly of perfectionism glorified in figure skating and its ties to disordered eating
  • Society’s tendency to stigmatize mental illness that doesn’t fit a textbook definition
  • The arduous, perpetual work of managing an eating disorder
  •  Reclaiming authenticity after realizing her projected “ice princess” persona was unsustainable

With refreshing candor, Gracie shares how curiosity and embracing life’s small joys enabled her to begin reconstructing an integrated identity beyond skating’s rigid
expectations. Her courage to openly discuss such profound struggles is a beacon of hope for anyone confronting their inner critic.


Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show, you guys. This is our second episode in the Embracing Change series and whew, you guys, this one really gets into it. We are getting into the depths around the pressure of perfectionism in a lot of categories — very specifically around body image and how it could slowly take over your life to the point where changing everything about both your internal and external world becomes mandatory just to keep going on. I do want to issue a CONTENT WARNING here if you are feeling tender.

What a storyteller we have today, woof. We are talking today to a world class athlete who has experienced this firsthand and found the support and the courage to make major systemic changes in her life because of it. Her story is brutal, but it’s beautiful and inspirational.  And I told her when we got off the interview, “this was so interesting. Let me look it up–yeah, we’re currently 13 minutes over our time.” I did not get half of my questions because her answers were so interesting and profound and thoughtful. And the I just kept asking more about the things she just said, so I feel like I needed a whole second interview with her. I think you’re gonna be really as fascinated, as I obviously was.

You guys, today we have Gracie Gold. Now, my fellow Olympic nerds know immediately who I’m talking about. Grace is a two time U.S. National Figure Skating champion known for her outrageous performances. She was a member of the 2014 Olympic bronze medal winning U.S. figure skating team. She finished a very impressive fourth in the individual ladies event during her Olympic debut in Sochi. I, of course, remember all of it. You know how I feel about the Olympics. And ice skating is my favorite Winter Olympic sport. And so, I remember watching her and being so captivated by what she does. But as you’ll hear today, behind all those glittering costumes and the very dazzling programs, there’s always more, isn’t there?

Gracie was struggling immensely in her personal life off the rink. She’s going to share a lot about that today, including sort of the intense pressures on elite athletes from a very, very young age. She talks about her battles with an eating disorder and depression and suicidal thought; the traumatic experience of sexual assault. And you guys know me, I admire nothing more than truth telling and courage that’s vulnerable. So she got real, real. Her new memoir came out a couple of months ago about making changes in her life and finding a way forward through grief and into recovery. We’re going to talk about all of it. I think you’re going to be so fascinated with her and the clear headed way that she talks about both her industry, her particular sport, but also that some of the cultural messages that just parlay right into all of it. I mean, I was just on the edge of my seat today, so I think you’re going to love it. Lucky us. I’m so pleased to share my conversation with the absolutely wonderful Gracie Gold.



2014 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team
Gracie’s Bronze Medal Team

Outofshapeworthlessloser: A Memoir of Figure Skating, F*cking Up, and Figuring It Out
by Gracie Gold

Top Ten Female Figure Skaters of All Time



The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media,
presented by Audacy.

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