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US Olympic medalist Arielle Gold retires from competitive snowboarding

Arielle Gold won bronze in the women’s snowboard halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Photo by Joel Reichenberger / Steamship Pilot and Today’s Archives

A native of Steamboat Springs, Breck’s local won bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – After a decade and illustrious snowboarding career, Olympic snowboarder Arielle Gold announced her retirement on Tuesday.

The Steamboat Springs native and the Breckenridge venue have not competed since March 2019 due to prolonged symptoms of a concussion. She said that for the past year and a half she had focused on school and self-love, barely touching a board.

But that didn’t make the decision to retire from the US ski and snowboard team any easier, Gold said. He added that the decision came after years of reflection.

“It has been incredibly difficult to accept the transition from a career that has played such an important role in my life,” said Gold. “But the decision to retire ultimately fell on the priority of my physical health and my emotional well-being.

“Competing in professional halfpipe snowboarding was rewarding beyond words, but it had also begun to put a strain on my physical and emotional health, and I believe my passion for snowboarding will only intensify as I move towards retirement.”

US Ski and Snowboard made the announcement on Tuesday, July 6, making his choice even more real. He wrote to his father, Ken Gold, a former professional skier based in Colorado, when his decision was revealed to the world.

“Seeing this ad hurts me physically,” she wrote him.

Arielle Gold smiles during the women’s superpipe finals at the Aspen X Games.
Photo by Chris Dillman / Vail Daily

Gold’s greatest hits

Gold was on the US Snowboard Pro Halfpipe team for nine years and two years earlier on the rookie team. She is a two-time world champion in Olympic halfpipe and the International Ski and Snowboard Federation and has three X Game medals to her name.

In 2013, at the age of 16, he won gold in the halfpipe at the FIS Snowboard World Championships. That was the start of a great year for Gold. She won bronze at her first Winter X Games, entering as an alternate to replace injured female snowboarding pioneer Gretchen Bleiler. He went on to win the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland, and won bronze at the X Games Europe.

The following year, at 17, she was the youngest member of the halfpipe team at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. She was a strong contender for the podium, but was forced out of competition after splitting her shoulder during a test run.

In 2015 and 2016 he scored a few more big events, such as the US Open in Vail, and won a couple of medals at the X Games in Aspen and Norway.

His career almost stopped there. Ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, he considered quitting, especially after persistent shoulder injuries. She talked about the idea with her family, who supported her, but her father advised her to really think about it.

“I just don’t want you to look back and say, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t try again,'” he said. “But if you’re going to do that, you have to drop everything else.”

He didn’t want her not to have a true Olympic experience, especially after 2014, and he hoped she would give everything she had and not half commit to the sport.

Gold decided to hold on, getting a place on the Olympic team. She came in as a loser but won bronze.

“Months before the Pyeongchang games, I made the decision to pursue another Olympics and that I would do everything in my power to earn that opportunity,” he said. “I started working with a sports psychologist several times a week, gradually shifting my perspective to snowboarding and allowing myself to enjoy it more than I have in years.

“While the prospect of earning a medal was once unfathomable, perhaps the most rewarding part of the 2018 Olympic Games was that I truly enjoyed every moment of the process.”

Before the third run – the run of his life – he stopped on top of the halfpipe and called his brother, Taylor Gold. He had been injured and was just coming out of the operation. He asked what he should do and his brother said he had no choice but to give everything he had.

So he did.

“That bond between them is incredibly unique and (I loved) being able to see their relationship blossom over the years by fighting enemies when they were kids,” said Ken Gold. “That moment was a statement on the whole thing. At that moment, the only person he wanted to talk to was him. “

Arielle Gold spins across a frontside 900 during her bronze medal winning run at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Photo by Joel Reichenberger / Steamship Pilot and Today’s Archives

His next career, his last year

The craziest part of Gold’s career in snowboarding is that it’s not even his greatest passion

She always had a love for animals, especially horses, and wanted to be a veterinarian. He recently completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado Boulder and is applying to schools to get his degree in veterinary medicine. He is also working full time in a veterinary emergency room to gain experience.

In his retirement announcement, Gold said he knew he wanted to be a vet long before he wanted to be a snowboarder. It was always her first love.

Now he can focus solely on that goal, which made the decision to step away from snowboarding a little easier.

Finishing college is just one of the things Gold has accomplished in the past year. The recovery from the injury and the pandemic gave her time to grow as a person and, as many young people in their twenties do, she “found herself”.

She started going to CrossFit, which helped her love her muscular body shape, something she has struggled with for years. She used her platform to talk about body image and self-love through an Instagram post in October 2020.

“Affinity is something that I would have benefited a lot from, which made me want to post something,” Gold said in 2020. “For anyone who follows me or the people who follow pro athletes, we too are people and we share a many of the same insecurities ”.

Like his life, his Instagram has gone from snowboarding highlights and promotional material to authentic snapshots of his life, a change he attributes to his new group of friends.

“I have to say that the people I met when I switched from snowboarding probably had the biggest influence in inspiring me to embrace myself fully,” said Gold. “I wouldn’t say these characteristics are necessarily things I was suppressing before, but I absolutely believe that the friends I’ve made are simply bringing out the best qualities in me.”

By hugging herself, Gold celebrated her bisexuality during June Pride Month.

“I’ve never been defined by my sexuality, but opening up to possibilities has taught me to love based on who people are rather than who they are,” she said in an Instagram post. “And in doing so, I never felt closer to the woman I always should have been.”

The woman she always should have been may no longer drive professionally. But at 25, Gold has time to master a new skill and retire a couple of times. Right now, she is aiming to become a vet, but there is no limit for the future.

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