(Chris Dillman/The Daily via AP)
Arielle and Taylor Gold took their brother-sister act to the 2014 Winter Olympics as two of the best young halfpipe riders in the world.
Last fall, they found themselves at a crossroads.
Battered by the unforgiving nature of the sport, Taylor decided to take a year off from competition to give his body time to heal. Arielle considered doing him one better, pondering retirement at 21, concerned that the joy she poured into her snowboarding had been replaced by fear of getting hurt she’d managed to hold at bay when she reached the Olympics as a teenager.
“Having some painful crashes, all of that took a toll on me mentally,” Gold said.
Including a wipeout during practice in Sochi, when a frontside 720 (two forward twists) ended with her slamming into the edge of the halfpipe, dislocating her right shoulder. She never made it to the competition, part of a largely forgettable experience, one she’ll have a chance to replace with far happier memories this time around following some serious soul searching and a well-timed visit with a sports psychologist last October.
“He said ‘What you're doing now is not productive, going back and forth, you make the decision and commit to it and do everything you can to pursue it to the fullest,’” Gold said. “I made the decision that day. That day wasn't like an epiphany like 'This is going to be amazing.' I'm going to do this and however it pans out, I'm just going to leave it all out there.”
Four months later, Gold is in Korea after making her second Olympic team. While her parents will be there, Taylor remains back in the United States, out of sight if not out of mind.
“It's been difficult not having him here,” Arielle Gold said. “He came out to a lot of the events in Colorado. We had several events this fall. He came out and was supporting me. I know he's going to be in contact with me every day that I'm practicing and competing here, that's all I can ask."
— Arielle Gold (@arielletgold) February 7, 2018