Carl Gold, who grew up in Joplin, knows the value of a good coach.
“I had the privilege of playing for coach Dewey Combs,” said Gold, a 1976 graduate of Parkwood High School in Joplin and a fullback in Combs’ wishbone offense.
“I had a lot of fun playing football,” he said. “Our team was successful. We had a lot of standouts on that team who made me look good.”
Under the watchful eye of Combs, the team won the state championship that school year.
When his twin daughters decided to take up ice skating years later in Springfield, Gold knew how important it was for them to have good coaches. Little did he know then where that good coaching would take one of his daughters.
After years of practice with some of the best coaches available, he said, daughter Gracie will be a contender in the women’s figure skating event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“If Gracie were to medal, I would be so thrilled,” he said. “But the fact that she has made it this far is such an accomplishment. I’m hopeful she is able to do her best. I believe anything is possible.”
Gracie Gold will be going up against South Korean Yuna Kim, who won the gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Kim could become only the third woman, after Katarina Witt and Sonja Henie, to win successive Olympic figure skating championships.
‘DRIVEN AND DEDICATED’
Penny Stephens Collins, of Joplin, who went to high school with Carl Gold, said she really hasn’t paid that much attention to women’s figure skating in the past. Is she going to watch Gracie compete?
“Oh yes, most definitely,” she said. “I have watched it some, but not like this. It makes it a lot more fun when you know someone.”
Collins, who saw Carl Gold as recently as last fall, said she is not surprised that his daughter has excelled.
“Carl is very driven and very dedicated,” she said. “I can see where Gracie got that from him.”
Mike Seibert, a member of the Joplin City Council, grew up in Joplin “one house apart” from Carl Gold on East 14th Street.
“She comes from an athletic bloodline to say the least,” he sad. “Carl was good at football, track and basketball. Carl was an incredible athlete. People know him best for being the fullback for the state championship team that year.
“It’s got to be a dream come true for that family. It’s such a thrill for us who know Carl. To have such an incredible athlete, it’s got to be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for that family.”