Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Gracie Gold on Leno: Japan Gives the Best Gifts

Olympic hopeful shares thoughts on diet, gifts from fans, twin

By Patrick Hickey Jr.
|  Friday, Jan 17, 2014  |  Updated 7:06 AM PDT
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Olympic figure skating contender Gracie Gold stopped by "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Thursday to talk about her training regimen, her twin sister and what countries give the best gifts after performances.

Selected to the U.S. Olympic team after a dominant first-place finish at the U.S. Championships last weekend in Boston, Gold has serious aspirations for a gold medal in Sochi. Former Olympic gold medalist and current NBC Olympic analyst Scott Hamilton told "Today" on Monday that Gold has a chance at a medal, citing her presence on the ice and triple-triple combination as her best qualities.

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Gold's triple-triple didn't come naturally, she said. Showing Leno footage of her unsuccessfully practicing the maneuver when she was 11, Gold, now 18, admitted it wasn't until a birthday party at an ice rink that the skating bug bit her.

"There were freestylers on the ice and they were in the middle, spinning and jumping. They were all best friends having so much fun. I was totally starstruck," Gold said. "The spins were what really got me. I was like, 'How cool is that?'"

After she discussed her relationship with her family, her love of the color pink and her high protein, quick carb diet, Leno asked Gold what country threw out the best gifts on the ice after her performances.

Gold cited Japan without hesitation as the best gift givers and said that the presents were often "personalized." Gold said over the years she's received chocolates "with her face on them" and even a "Barbie" doll dressed to look exactly like her, with her signature side braid and earrings.

"It had the whole look," said Gold, who hasn't eaten the chocolates yet because of her diet.

"That could almost be creepy in some circumstances, but I guess it's okay," Leno said. "Like if a 45-year-old man did it, then it's bad."

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