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Gold rebounds from depression, dreams of Beijing Olympics

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New York (AFP)

Two-time US figure skating champion Gracie Gold admitted Friday she still struggles with depression but is targeting the 2022 Beijing Olympics as she begins a comeback at age 23.

Gold helped American women capture a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but told NBC's Today show that she struggled with her self-image even then.

"I was 'America's sweetheart' or I was 'the golden girl' and I was afraid to be real with my struggles because then I wouldn't be as perfect as the media saw me," Gold said.

Struggles that have kept her off the ice for most of the past two years included an eating disorder that "got more and more extreme until it was just unbearable" and fourth-place finishes just off podiums at the 2015 and 2016 world championships, the latter on home ice in Boston.

"It was everything," Gold said. "It was just one of those things where I couldn't be the best in the world."

Gold, the 2014 and 2016 US champion, withdrew from the 2018 campaign.

"I just needed some time apart from skating because I blamed skating for a long time," Gold said. "But it wasn't skating's fault. It didn't ruin my life. I allowed my behavior while I was skating to ruin my own life."

Even now, she faces the challenges on and off the ice knowing there are no easy solutions.

"Treatment and therapy isn't like this magic wand where it's just like, fixed," Gold said.

Gold still hopes for a world medal, her next chance coming at the 2020 worlds in Montreal, but she seeks a broader comeback aimed at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

"The Beijing Games in 2022 would be like the ultimate dream," Gold said. "And if I could win a world medal... winning a world medal would almost be more important to me than going to another Olympics."

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