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Moscow beats Placid to host skating world championships

Event had been set for Tokyo

March 24, 2011
By the Associated Press and ERIC VOORHIS, For the Enterprise

LAKE PLACID - The Olympic Center had been a candidate to host the 2011 World Championship Figure Skating Competition in late April or early May, but Moscow was chosen today as the replacement venue for Tokyo.

The International Skating Union announced today that the championships will be held from April 24 to May 1 at the Russian capital's Megasport arena.

The event had been scheduled to take place this week in Tokyo but was canceled in the aftermath of an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, and the ongoing crisis from compromised nuclear power plants.

An ISU statement said Russia has promised easy access to visas, which often can be difficult to obtain.

Moscow hosted the skating world championships in 2005, but at a different arena.

U.S. Figure Skating submitted a bid Tuesday morning to host the competition in either Lake Placid or Colorado Springs, Colo., according to Jon Lundin, spokesman for New York state's Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages the Olympic venues in and around Lake Placid.

"It's obviously something we're very interested in having here," Lundin said. "I think we have the experience and the facility to host something like this."

The ISU made the announcement it was accepting bids Monday after the Japan Skating Federation confirmed it could not host the event.

Along with the U.S. and Russia, bids came in from Canada (for Vancouver), Finland (for Turku), Croatia and Austria, according to Bibb.

Scottie Bibb, director of media and public relations at U.S. Figure Skating, said the ISU initially asked for certain guidelines when considering venues, such as a minimum of 700 hotel rooms - Lake Placid has around 1,900, according to the Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau - and a seating capacity of 8,000. Lake Placid's biggest arena holds 7,700.

"But I don't think they're going to fuss about a couple hundred seats," Bibb said Wednesday. "It's more about the overall quality of the bid and the local organizing committees."

Bibb said U.S. Figure Skating stood behind both bids for Lake Placid and Colorado Springs.

"We wouldn't have put them in if they weren't strong bids," she said. "Lake Placid has a wonderful history, of course, and they're certainly capable of hosting something like this."

In recent history, Colorado Springs' World Arena hosted the Four Continents Championships, an annual figure skating competition, in 2006 and 2007. Lake Placid hosted Skate America, traditionally the first competition in the ISU Grand Prix Series, in 2009 along with many more localized events.

"The biggest challenge will be to put everything together in just six weeks, for whoever does it," Bibb said.

With an estimated death toll of 9,800 in Japan, plus another 17,541 listed as missing, Bibb said it was difficult to focus on the competition in the wake of such a tragedy.

"For all of us, we're torn. It's difficult to concentrate on all of this with our friends and colleagues in Japan who are going through something so awful," Bibb said. "Yes, this is an important event within the world of figure skating, and we'll see a good event, but our thoughts and prayers are with those in Japan."



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