THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS
LADIES’ FREE SKATE
Details/TV: At St. Paul, Minn., Saturday at 6 p.m., Channel 4 (delayed)
Twin sisters Gracie and Carly Gold moved out of their suburban Chicago home with their mom back in 2013, and they’ve been sharing a bedroom in Redondo Beach as they train together in El Segundo with renowned skating coach Frank Carroll. Gracie, you may be familiar with. The 2014 U.S. women’s figure skating champion, who finished second last year to Ashley Wagner, has designs on making it to the 2018 Olympics after a fourth-place finish in Sochi two years ago. Carly, who finished one spot away from qualifying for last year’s nationals, recently won the Pacific Coast Sectionals in Burbank, so that means she gets into the field for the 2016 nationals — and the result is the 20-year-old sisters will be competing against each other. The last time that happened at nationals was in 2003, with Alissa Czisny (who was 10th) and twin Amber Czisny (who was 20th). “Nationals has been my goal since I was 10,” Carly Gold said in a recent interview with USA Today, as both are also targeting the ISU World Figure Skating championships in April, set for Boston. Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Wagner, who continues to train in Orange County, could be a four-time U.S. champ by the time this plays out, and she would also become the oldest U.S. woman to claim this title since Maribel Vinson in 1937. Others up for the challenge: Karen Chen (third last year), Polina Edmunds (fourth last year), Courtney Hicks and Mirai Nagasu (third in 2014).
On the men’s side, decided by the free skate Sunday, it’s something of an open field since defending champion Jason Brown had to pass on this competition with a back strain. Ready to step up is 2013 champion Max Aaron (fourth last year, third in 2014), Adam Rippon (second last year), Nathan Chen and Richard Dornbush.
Also: The ladies’ short program is Thursday, with the men’s short program on Friday and the long program on Sunday (1 p.m., Channel 4). The pairs dance and free skate finals are Saturday (noon, Channel 4). Also Friday: Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto will be inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
More info: www.2016uschampionships.com
ALSO THIS WEEK:
New England and Denver have the AFC title game (Sunday, noon, Channel 2) followed by the NFC title game between Arizona and Carolina (Sunday, 3:30 p.m., Channel 11) … The Clippers’ game at Cleveland (Thursday, 5 p.m.) goes to TNT … USC and UCLA make the Oregon road trip .. More at this link.