updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET
•originally published 02/20/2014 AT 11:20 PM ET
The U.S. sent a strong women’s figure skating team to Sochi, and each member – Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds – had the potential to medal in the individual event. And while none of them reached the podium, they all say they had meaningful Olympic experiences.
“When I ended up fourth after the short, I thought the pressure was lifted off,” Gold, 18, told reporters Thursday. “I was only six points from a medal after the short. But if I wasn’t going to get a medal, I wanted to skate for myself.”
Gold, who finished fourth overall, skated a clean performance apart from a fall on one of her triple jumps.
“When I went down on it, I thought, ‘Dang it! That’s what Frank Carroll [her coach] told me not to do. Don’t drop that right arm.’ I went down on the triple flip, but, at the end of the day, skating these three programs at the Olympics was wonderful.”
When asked if she plans to work toward the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea, Gold said, “I definitely have two Olympics in me; I don’t know about three Olympics.”
After the controversy over Ashley Wagner’s place at the Games, the 22-year-old said she was thrilled with her performance.
“I learned a lot about competing here and I learned a lot about putting things in perspective,” said Wagner, who finished seventh. “I’m so proud of what I did at these Olympic Games. Coming in, I was an underdog and some questioned whether I belonged on the team.”
“I put out three clean programs and I can go home holding my head high. I’m ecstatic,” she said.
Polina Edmunds, who is just 15 years old and finished ninth, said she would like to compete at the next Winter Games.
“Definitely, I’d love to come back to the Olympics. That’s four years from now and I know I have to keep building up my strength,” she said. “I’m going to keep training for worlds. I’m really excited for that.”
Edmunds, like Gold, fell on her triple flip.
“I missed an element and that wasn’t fun. Of course, I would have liked to have done a clean skate but I’m glad of the way I came back,” she said, adding that she felt like her performance lasted much longer than four minutes.
“I felt like I was skating on the ice for hours. After my second triple lutz, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m at the Olympics.’ “