U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS: LADIES FREE SKATE FINAL
Details/TV: At Greensboro, N.C., Saturday at 8 p.m., Channel 4 (tape delayed)
The Los Angeles Sports Council last week announced that Gracie Gold, who last year won the U.S. Figure Skating championships in Boston and then claimed a bronze medal in the team event the Olympics in Sochi, Russia before placing fourth overall in the individuals, was more than qualified to claim the organization’s 2014 Sportswoman of the Year honors. But don’t you have to be an L.A. citizen to qualify? Gold, who was born in Massachusetts and raised in Missouri and Illinois, has lived the last year-plus in Redondo Beach to train at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo with coach Frank Carroll. And there’s no ignoring how the So Cal celebrity lifestyle has caught up with Gold. Just the other day, she was hanging out on Catalina Island with her new pal, Taylor Swift, who also invited actress Jaime King, singer Lorde and the group Haim.
According to NBCSports’ OlympicTalk website, Swift invited Gold on the excursion, and “I said, duh, of course I’d love to,” replied Gold, who had a morning skating session that day. The story reports that the gang “yachted, ate lunch and had ice cream cones. Then they went back to Los Angeles to hang out.” Or as Gold said: “It was just one of those whimsical things. Just a casual text from Taylor Swift, no biggie.”
Well, Good night, Gracie.
Before she can pick up her new LASC trophy on the March 15 ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, she’s got to figure out a way to defend her U.S. title because Ashley Wagner, the 2012 and ’13 U.S. champ, goes into this event as a co-favorite. Maybe you recall that Wagner finished just fourth at last year’s nationals but still made the U.S. Olympic team over third-place finisher Mirai Nagasu based on her performances leading up to that event. Of course, this competition also has the men’s free skate, highlighted by Jeremy Abbott, Max Aaron and Jason Brown, which goes Sunday (Channel 4, 1 p.m.). The pairs and free dance is Saturday (Channel 4, noon). Terry Gannon, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are on the call.
THE BEST OF THE REST:
The Clippers take on Boston (12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and the Lakers head to Phoenix (7 p.m, TNT) as part of the 12-game MLK holiday where the NBA takes over Monday … The whole thing is linked here.