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It is amazing how this NYT article on skater Gracie Gold’s depression and body dysphoria manages to erase @MiraiNagasu and the controversial decision that sent Gracie to the Olympics to begin with—because there’s reason to suggest they’re linked.
Like many figure skating articles before it, the NYT article celebrates one of the most problematic archetypes in skating and in women’s sport at large: The racist, sexist cult of the “golden girl”—blond, white, sylphlike, dazzlingly bright at all times.
The Golden Girl archetype hurts nonwhite women by making them seem like aberrations from the golden “norm”—damaging prospects for selection, reducing subjective scores, cutting marketing and media support.

In skating, the archetype began with Sonja Henie.
But it has continued in the sport nearly unabated ever since, permeating on-air commentary and coverage of skating. And it doesn’t just impact skaters of color: It defines expectations for the Golden Girls themselves, pushing them into a box with enormous potential for harm.
If you’re a Golden Girl—and Gracie has Gold in her name!—you need to conform to the archetype, in looks, behavior, performance. It can be a driver of despair and self-hatred—and a sense of entitlement when you don’t get your way. Remember the Shocked Ashley Wagner memes?
I hope Gracie Gold is able to get well.

But I’ll note that USFS is so touchy about allegations that they cater to Golden Girl archetypes that they forced my most humiliating moment as a journalist, when I wrote about the choice of Wagner over Nagasu for my WSJ column in 2014.
USFS was so incensed that they waged an attack campaign against me toward the seniormost editors of the Wall Street Journal, saying I had not reached out to them for “comment” in a piece that was an *opinion column*, resulting in this pinned statement at the top of my commentary.
Because WSJ has put all of my pieces behind a paywall, here’s the column in full, if anyone wants to (re)read it.

Including US Figure Skating. (1)
And the rest (2).
Sorry all, had to rethread.
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