The International Skating Union on Thursday awarded this year's World Figure Skating Championships to Moscow after the Japanese Skating Federation "withdrew its rights to the event" in Tokyo following the natural disasters in Japan earlier this month, according to Beverley Smith of the GLOBE & MAIL. The ISU announced that the event will be held in Moscow's Megasport Stadium from April 24-May 1, giving the Russian skating federation a month to prepare for an event that "usually takes a couple of years.” Skate Canada CEO William Thompson noted that the Russian government's willingness to "finance the event" made Moscow "a strong bid." Moscow last staged the world championships in ’05 at the Luzhniki Palace of Sports. The Megasport Complex, which opened in ’06 and seats 14,500, has hosted the Cup of Russia Grand Prix as well as the ’07 men’s world hockey championship (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/25). Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has assured that the country “can meet the demand of housing 199 skaters from 45 nations.” Putin on Tuesday said, “This is not a very expensive event, and we are capable of taking care of all the expenses.” In Colorado Springs, Brian Gomez notes the bill “could reach $5 million.” The six other cities that submitted bids were Colorado Springs; Lake Placid; Graz, Austria; Turku, Finland; Vancouver; and Zagreb, Croatia (Colorado Springs GAZETTE 3/25).
SHOULD EVENT HAVE BEEN CANCELED? In Chicago, Philip Hersh wrote the ISU’s decision “is nice for the athletes who have earned places at worlds and have trained so hard to perform at their best," but the event "should have been cancelled.” The championships have been "rendered utterly insignificant by the devastation in Japan.” Hersh: “Having to give up the event to another country, although hardly consequential in the big picture, is another painful circumstance for Japan to endure” (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 3/24).