New 2011 Worlds location: Moscow

March 24, 2011

Moscow new site for world figure skating

By Philip Hersh

The International Skating Union announced Thursday that it has selected Moscow, Russia from six candidates as the substitute host for the World Figure Skating Championships.

The event will take place April 24 - May 1.

The 2011 worlds were scheduled to take place in Tokyo this week but had to be moved as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

``We're all thrilled it will take place this spring,'' U.S. ice dancer Meryl Davis just told me by telephone. ``By trying to hold it as soon as possible, (it) shows the ISU and the federations have been doing all they can for the skaters.''

Russia seemed the most logical replacement candidate since it told the ISU last week it was willing to take over the event because of Moscow's hotel capacity, international airports and large arena.

As I wrote in an earlier blog, it became a foregone conclusion Tuesday when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised support and said his country could handle the finances easily.

The other candidates were: Vancouver; Lake Placid, N.Y. or Colorado Springs; Turku, Finland; Graz, Austria; and Zagreb, Croatia.

Click here for the ISU statement.

While details are still being worked out, a Russian figure skating official told me Thursday the schedule will be essentially the same as what was planned for Tokyo, with official practices beginning April 24, preliminary wounds April 25-26 and the final phases of the competition from April 27-30.

Pairs and men's events would be April 27 (short programs) and 28 (free skate); women's and dance April 29 (short) and 30 (free).

It will be held at the five-year-old Megasport Arena, which has a seating capacity of just over 12,000 for hockey. It would be about the same for figure skating.

``It's nice we have a month now instead of finding out we were going next week,'' Davis said. ``We have time to reset our training.''

Davis said she and partner Charlie White, reigning Olympic and world silver medalists, have decided to give up planned appearances on the Stars on Ice tour to concentrate on training for worlds. They would have skated with Stars on Ice between the originally scheduled end of worlds this Sunday and the April 9 end of the tour's U.S. stops.

Stars on Ice producer Byron Allen told me earlier this week all the affected skaters would be let of of contracts because ``their priority has to be their professional career.''

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