ADLER, Russia -- There's a line in a Lana Del Rey song that clicked with Gracie Gold as she trained for the Olympics Games.
"I believe in the person I want to become."
Gold's path of self-discovery and development delivers the 18-year-old U.S. champion to the Olympic short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace on Wednesday night.
"I'm on the way to finding that person," Gold said after a recent training session. "I'm always changing, looking to become better. I'm getting there."
Gold will take the ice the next two nights not chasing the marks of other skaters, and certainly not perfection, but the skater she and many in the sport believe is inside her.
"I really don't have any when it comes to placement," Gold said when asked about her Olympic expectations. "It's more of about how I perform at the Olympics and that's more of what I want to walk away with. And I really want to take home a medal because I think my best skating is capable of that."
Gold is already taking a bronze medal from the Olympic team competition where she was second in the free skate to Russia's 15-year-old sensation, Yulia Lipnitskaya.
"It gives me confidence knowing that I can do it and I did it a little over a week ago and I think I can do it again," Gold said.
Gold, a Massachusetts native who grew up in Illinois before moving to Hermosa Beach, Calif., last fall to train with Frank Carroll, has been viewed as American skating's next big thing after finishing second to Laguna Beach's Ashley Wagner at the 2013 U.S. Championships and then sixth at the World Championships, again a place behind Wagner.
Gold has the classic look of a 1940s or '50s movie star and a poise, her supporters said, that is absent in Lipnitskaya.
"I think she skates like a woman," said Carroll, coach of Evan Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic champion, and five-time World champion Michelle Kwan.
"I think she skates like a young lady not like a youngster," Carroll continued, both praising Gold and taking a not so thinly veiled shot at her Russian rival. "Not like a kid. She doesn't skate like a kid. She skates like a lady and there's a maturity to it."
That maturity was evident this week when Gold was asked if she feels the need to be perfect against defending Olympic champion Kim Yuna and one of the deepest women's fields in Olympic history.
"Rarely in history has the Olympic champion skated a perfect program, and it's the person that just sticks to the program that they've trained and they just keep going," Gold said. "It's just sticking to the program."
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