Winter Olympics figure skating darling Gracie Gold always wears a very special piece of jewelry to all of her big competitions. The superstitious Sports Illustrated cover girl and gold medal hopeful believes an evil eye necklace given to her by a ballet teacher years ago has helped propel her to stardom.
“I always wear my evil eye necklace to ward off bad karma. I always wear one to protect me,” she told People magazine. “When I first started working with a ballet teacher, she gave me one before my first national championships. It worked really well. I ended up on the podium!”
The evil eye necklace has yet to fail her. The athletic and graceful skater won the U.S. Junior title in 2012, placed second at the U.S. Nationals in 2013, and won U.S. Nationals in 2014.
On Sunday, the fashion-conscious 18-year-old wore bright blue gemstone earrings while performing a flawless routine, scoring a career-best 129.36 and leading the U.S. team to a bronze medal in the team figure skating event.
Interestingly, athletes are prohibited from wearing earrings, necklaces and hair adornments in Olympic-level figure skating competitions. A strict interpretation of the rules could result in the deduction of critical points from the competitor’s score.
Brad Griffies, an ice-skating costume designer who created the dress worn by Gold for this year’s U.S. National Championships, told Cosmopolitan magazine that the rules about accessories are rarely enforced and most competitors ignore them altogether. This is fortunate for Gold, who wore her evil eye necklace, stud earrings and a blingy hair clip during the U.S. Nationals, which took place in Boston, only a few miles from her birthplace of Newton, Mass.
The costume designer also revealed that there is a precise limit to the number of crystals that may be applied to a skater’s costume. That number is 100,000. Griffies told Cosmopolitan that while it may take two to four hours to construct a skating outfit, the crystals could take four to 40 hours to apply.