It’s official: Moscow will substitute host the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships, in large part (perhaps in entirety?) due to the involvement of the Russian government, including Vladimir Putin.
IT’s seemed like the event would be moved to Russia all along, simply because of the support already gathered. When the government announced — before the bidding process was even official — that they would do whatever necessary to expedite travel visas, you knew they were in it to win it.
They did what no other potential host did in getting the media involved, making their bid public, and showing themselves internationally as a feasibly option.
Of course, getting Vlad on board with the “finances are no problem” comment didn’t hurt.
As an American skating fan, I would have loved to see the event in the US. However, I’ve felt all along that Moscow was the best replacement city offered. To pull of an event like this takes tremendous support, from the people at the very top, to the fans in the very last row. It seems Russia already has this national focus, which will help as they take on this project.
At the very least, Russia gave a sense of surety in their efforts. They believed that the event should be moved, they believed they could handle it, and they even put out possible dates quite early in the process. In this roller coaster of a situation, their attempts seemed certain. So, thank you, Prime Minister Putin, for those attempts.
The event is scheduled for April 24 – May 1, just over a month from the original dates. Finally, the skaters have a point to look towards and a time frame to train in.
In the celebration of the new plans for Worlds, let us not forget those still suffering enormously in Japan. This event will be bittersweet, because as the rest of the world continues to moves along, their world is forever changed.
Thanks to the ISU (and Prime Minister Putin!) we will host a World Championships this year. So Congrats to Moscow, good luck to the skaters as they continue to train, and much love to the people of Japan.
Perhaps the team they are sending to Moscow will give their country a World Champion to celebrate…