Gracie Gold's memoir published February 2024

VGThuy

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The crux of the Lipinskis' argument was that the USFS favored and pushed Kwan, even after Lipinski started routinely beating her in 1997. And there's some truth to that argument, although Pat Lipinski could certainly be a pill.

Gracie Gold, like Kwan, was the anointed one. I'm not surprised she didn't feel the rivalry because she had the push from the federation. (She was also a much better skater than Wagner.) Perhaps it's a "privilege" she didn't fully appreciate or understand. Not dissing her, just saying I'm not surprised that the favored ones don't necessarily feel the favoritism.
I can definitely see that. I think what may have led to some perception on Pat Lipinski's part was that there was a lot of data points leading up to the idea that Kwan was not only favored by the USFS but by the international judges as well.

First, Tara's win seemed to be perceived by many fans due to Kwan messing up rather than Tara beating Kwan out-right when clean prior to Nagano. This was supported at 1997 Worlds where Kwan's 6-triple routine with a 3/3 beat a 7-triple LP from Tara with a 3Loop/3Loop and a 2A/1/3Sal by a 6-3 decision. Then Irina came, somehow skated that Phantom LP the best she had all season and made that program work to where and she took three first place votes as well.

Then at Skate America, Kwan seemed to get "welcome back" scores from an international panel whereas Tara's SP was seemed to be hit with lower-than-expected tech scores. She then messed up the LP. Then Lipinski lost to Hubert at Lalique. So it seemed like maybe she was having a Kwan-like 1996-97 season while Kwan was on the upswing.

The tide seemed to shift back in Lipinski's favor after she decidedly won the GPF, but Kwan withdrew due to injury so there was this idea that had Kwan been there, she most likely could have won. It may not have been true, but I can see that perception being strong and affecting Tara. In fact, Tara herself said she went into Nagano thinking nothing she could have done would have mattered.

At Nationals, it seemed Kwan's health and readiness was "up in the air" and it seemed her practices were "so-so" while Tara and Bobek seemed to be nearing their competitive prime. I think pure adrenaline and being pressure-free made Kwan skate as well as she did at Nationals with Tara falling in the SP and placing fourth, and skating the LP like she was just holding on to her Olympic spot (the media acting like she wouldn't be named to the team had she sustained her fourth place finish behind Bobek and Kwiatkowski, but we knew the truth).

I think that's what made Nagano so surprising because Tara skated the best she ever had (even better than her exuberant skates in the 1996-97 season) and taking a first place ordinal in the SP from the French judge. Then the LP happened and it was a reverse of 1997 Worlds LP. There's another data point that could have backed up Lipinski's assertion of USFS favoritism as the US judge (with the Polish and German judge - the "famous" Jan Hoffman) placed Kwan first in the Nagano LP.

I think by the time Pat Lipinski had her tantrum on the White House lawn where Kwan was chosen to replace Picabo Street as the person to hand then-President Clinton the Team USA jacket, it was due to their heightened expectations of Tara finally receiving the no. 1 American star treatment sort of being dashed when it seemed Kwan became the bigger star to come out of Nagano despite Tara getting a lot of fanfare and attention... when Kwan wasn't around.

I understand where all of this came from, but I still think Pat Lipinski acted really immaturely. However, since she perceived Tara not receiving her due from the federation, judges, IOC, and even the media and skating fans despite everything she accomplished coupled with with all the pressures and sacrifices she made for Tara's career, I can see it all affecting her all at once.
 

snoopysnake

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In David Ortiz' autobiography about his baseball career, he says that everybody assumes that the Yankees and the Red Sox players hate each other, because of the long rivalry between those teams, and because of the rabid fans of each team who hate the other team. But in reality, because those two teams play against each other so often during the season, the players get to know each other and are quite friendly. Which must have been a "Michelle likes Tara" type shock to some of the more manic Yankees fans and Red Sox fans :lol:
David Ortiz is my favorite Red Sox player! Actually, I think between the number of Sox fans who hate the Yankhiss and the number who DESPISE the Yankhiss, there is more than enough Yankhiss hatred around regardless of how many of the players on the two teams like each other! :D
 

moonvine

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Sylvia

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Gracie is doing an IG Live tomorrow/Friday at 2:45 pm ET on the subject of eating disorders.
Live now with NEDA - replay link: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3_B6CTv_e9/

ETA:

Gracie and Karen Crouse will appear at The Alturas Institute’s fifth annual one-night celebration of Women’s History Month on March 14 at the Downtown Event Center in Idaho Falls:
 
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Sylvia

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Gracie shared this 2/27 video link via Insta story today:
 

jackson

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I know many first hand accounts that are alleged from his days in DE with girls ages 12-16 when he was in 20s so yes a very scary man.
I am still surprised by the adults/coaches who were not held accountable at the rink. He and his adult friends hung out very openly with 15-17 year old high schoolers in their young/mid 20s and would drive them around, and hang out with them publicly they would even post on social media at the beach and things (some of the adults were quoted in the very public article defending him). It was cited that they were all in a peer-to-peer relationship but legally speaking it's clear that adults should not be hanging out with minors unsupervised. Additionally, this was all while Bridget was his public GF (also underage), and again from what it seemed, allegedly, no adults expressed concern. Very sad.
 

Sylvia

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Karina1974

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Figure skating and gymnastics are as much entertainment art forms as they are sport. You don't see other sports do "shows" outside of competitions.
Baton twirling does. There have been several top-level twirlers, such as Annetta Lucero and Jennifer Marcus, who have made baton twirling into entertainment, via shows like Cirque du Soleil.
 
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Aceon6

Wrangling the duvet into the cover
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Baton twirling does. There have been several top-level twirlers, such as Annetta Lucero and Jennifer Marcus, who have made baton twirling into entertainment, via shows like Circe du Soleil.
Some of the X Games sports also do exhibitions. I’ve been to a ski aerials show. My nephews have gone to skateboarding exhibitions.
 

overedge

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Some of the X Games sports also do exhibitions. I’ve been to a ski aerials show. My nephews have gone to skateboarding exhibitions.

Also the NHL and NFL with "skills competitions", MLB with the home-run derby the day before the All-Star Game.....
 

canbelto

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The NBA also does fun competitions during the All Star weekend like the 3P contest and the dunk contest (which involves some very fancy, artful, acrobatic dunking).
 

MorganaLefay

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Just finished Gracie's book: my first ever experience on Audible! I am not sure I should have done it "live" read bc I think I got a lot more jarring experience than I would have reading it "in my own voice". When Gracie says she is no ice princess, no kidding, that ain't the melliflous voice of the golden-haired princess with roses on her lips:) I have mixed feelings about this book and her story in general: on the one hand, it's great that she survived and seemed to have found her true self--I had no idea how much she was going through and it's amazing she still has the love for skating after all of this; on the other, I felt that some of her criticism of her parents, coaches, and "male federation officials" were a bit petulant/ sensationalist (although of course who am I to judge). Ch 17 was a work of art, so sensitive dealing with such heart-wrenching issues. And her come-back and relationship with Hernandez make for a warm story, I am glad she has people she can count on for support! I think she will be a great coach and really hope to see her in the KnC at the top events with her pupils. And if she wants to skate, a la Stellato, that would be great as well.
 

Yazmeen

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I think by the time Pat Lipinski had her tantrum on the White House lawn where Kwan was chosen to replace Picabo Street as the person to hand then-President Clinton the Team USA jacket, it was due to their heightened expectations of Tara finally receiving the no. 1 American star treatment sort of being dashed when it seemed Kwan became the bigger star to come out of Nagano despite Tara getting a lot of fanfare and attention... when Kwan wasn't around.

I understand where all of this came from, but I still think Pat Lipinski acted really immaturely. However, since she perceived Tara not receiving her due from the federation, judges, IOC, and even the media and skating fans despite everything she accomplished coupled with with all the pressures and sacrifices she made for Tara's career, I can see it all affecting her all at once.
Pat Lipinski made two big errors during Tara's skating career: One - she couldn't keep her big mouth shut and always seemed to be complaining about how unfair "poor Tara" was being treated; and Two - deciding that Tara would absolutely be the next Dorothy Hamill because she won the gold medal.

What Pat didn't expect was not only Michelle being incredibly gracious in defeat after Nagano and capturing a lot of positive attention for that, but also Michelle beating out Tara for both attention and endorsements, etc. for one very simple reason that had nothing to do with their competitive results. While Michelle was only 17 going on 18 after that competition, she looked like a mature young woman. As for Tara? Let's be honest; at best at that time, she looked like a 12-year-old. IIRC, the agent for the Olson twins approached the Lipinski's with a solid plan to market her to young girls and tweens. Pat flatly refused because she wanted the "Hamill Package" and insisted that Tara be marketed to the adult female audience that comprised most skating fans. That plan pretty much fell flat. And the irony was that later on, Tara's major endorsement was the former "Limited, Too," a store aimed at - you guessed it, young girls and tweens. Meanwhile, Michelle skated on and cemented her place in national and international skating history and continued to do extremely well endorsement and business-wise while Tara "retired," not letting the world know for years that she had injuries that precluded another Olympic run.

Finally, one other mistake Pat made was pulling Tara from COI and putting her in SOI. Wonderful move; send a teenager off with a group of adult skating champions who love to party after hours, leaving her in her hotel room and causing her to act out more than once while on the tour. I still recall Pat being interviewed in one book and almost frantically begging Tom Collins to take Tara back because of the miserable time Tara had with SOI (Pat thought "Scott Hamilton would take her under his wing," not realizing that Scott was quite the party boy back in those days). And, hey, I'm not saying in any way that Danny Kwan was anything resembling perfect, but Pat could have used a few more filters before what she was thinking reached her mouth and her decisions. This all said, I don't think Pat ever got over Tara getting gold, but in reality, Michelle becoming the next Dorothy Hamill.
 

Yazmeen

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David Ortiz is my favorite Red Sox player! Actually, I think between the number of Sox fans who hate the Yankhiss and the number who DESPISE the Yankhiss, there is more than enough Yankhiss hatred around regardless of how many of the players on the two teams like each other! :D
I live north of Philly, and I still haven't forgiven the "D*mn Yankees" for moving their AA franchise from our beloved Trenton Thunder to another city in NJ. Their reasoning? A "better demographic" - a polite way to say "whiter neighborhood." Trenton got the draft league and they CONTINUE to pull in better attendance than the new Yankee's franchise.
 

Maximillian

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Pat Lipinski was an overzealous skating parent, as was Danny Kwan. I'm sure both made decisions, actions, behaviors, said things that would be considered questionable and even outrageous by a disinterested third party, especially if the entire context of the situation was not given or was reported with a clear bias. The only difference between the two is that Christine Brennan decided to frame the narrative for her book in a particular way. She could have just as easily framed it the other way and if you don't believe that, you are very naive.
 

MacMadame

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Pat Lipinski was an overzealous skating parent, as was Danny Kwan. I'm sure both made decisions, actions, behaviors, said things that would be considered questionable and even outrageous by a disinterested third party, especially if the entire context of the situation was not given or was reported with a clear bias. The only difference between the two is that Christine Brennan decided to frame the narrative for her book in a particular way. She could have just as easily framed it the other way and if you don't believe that, you are very naive.
I don't agree with this analysis. Danny Kwan was much better at keeping his actions and thoughts to himself. The public has no idea of half the things he said/did. Even in the skating community, there were just whispers and not a lot of details. I doubt Brennan had any idea of half the things going on there unlike with the Lipiniskis where much more was known even by fans.

That's the real difference.
 

Coco

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Michelle's family choosing Shep Goldberg as her agent made a world of difference. His longstanding relationships with prominent sportswriters helped her immensely.

As a result, the media extended grace to Danny Kwan that they did not extend to Pat Lipinski. I am sure that Pat was more likely to pop off at the mouth around reporters. But they could have chosen to treat it as off the record. They did not.

The story after Nagano was Michelle's "I like you" comment at the press conference and not her failing to congratulate Tara at the medal ceremony. I don't think this was random or a coincidence. The media covered her in the best possible light. I think Shep had a lot to do with that.
 

VGThuy

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To be fair, Kwan gave a lot to report on in that light. She didn’t always get positive press either as evidenced by splitting with Frank and her withdrawing from the 2006 Olympics. The lack of otherwise negative news was due to Kwan just being mostly private, figure skaters not receiving the same scrutiny as other athletes from bigger sports (though not as much fame and notoriety either), and didn’t give much to report on outside her skating-related actions and when she did public engagements with her Disney and other contracts, which were mostly positive.

Tara not receiving the “Dorothy Hamill” treatment post-OGM wasn’t her fault either. She had some fame and did what she could given the waning skating popularity post-whack even with all the made-for-tv competitions/specials that were still happening from 1998-2002.

Brennan did have an anti-Tara narrative that Pat let herself feed. In the end, Pat’s actions were still her actions and she was pretty much angry at a 16-17 year-old girl.
 

canbelto

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It's incredibly weird fans are still rehashing Kwan vs Lipinski and dragging their parents. Both of these women are more mature than their fans.
 

MacMadame

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Whom she encouraged to overtrain leading to the hip issues. I’m NOT team Pat.
Pat was mad at Kwan, not her daughter.

I'm not sure Pat encouraged Tara to overtrain either. Reports from Pat and others are that Tara was headstrong and would do things like 3L after 3L when Tara was mad she wasn't landing the jump and no one could stop her. So I think it was more that Pat let Tara do what she wanted. It could be that nothing Pat did would have stopped Tara or it could be that Pat wasn't being a parent and stepping in when she should have. Who knows? I have a head-strong kid and at times it's been one and at times the other.

I think another issue is that Pat (and possibly Tara's dad) had this idea that Tara should pursue fame and fortune via the Olympics. At one point, Tara was involved in several sports and the family had the money that she could have pursued them all at a recreational level. But she was made to choose so that she could pursue it at an elite level and was encouraged to pick the one that would lead to Olympic glory similar to both Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamil.

As a parent and someone who has been involved in skating, I have to say that she isn't the first parent and won't be the last to think this way but it is exceedingly dumb. Paying for your kid to be in sports is not an investment but an expense. The chances that it will pay off are exceedingly low. Like winning the lottery low. Just let your kid pursue their interests without any expectations.

It's incredibly weird fans are still rehashing Kwan vs Lipinski and dragging their parents. Both of these women are more mature than their fans.
Some of us find people and their choices interesting as well as how those choices play out in public. 🤷
 

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