Finland considers applying to host this spring’s World Figure Skating Championships
Japanese withdrawal prompts last-minute bid
Finnish Figure Skating Association chairperson Susanna Rahkamo is excited about the possibility of Finland taking over the task of organising the World Figure Skating Championships later this spring, after the event that was originally supposed to take place this week in Tokyo, Japan, was cancelled in the aftermath of the recent earthquake and tsunami.
“We are very curious to find out if organising the event might still be possible at such short notice”, Rahkamo told Helsingin Sanomat on Monday evening.
“It does not hurt to play with the idea, even if it seems crazy given the short notice of less than a month.”
The International Skating Union ISU announced on Monday that it is looking for a new organiser for the World Championships after Japan had officially confirmed its decision to give up staging the event due to the natural disaster that overwhelmed large areas of the country.
ISU chairman Ottavio Cinquanta commented yesterday to the news agency AP that a vote over the new organiser of the event will take place either on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
The Italian was hoping that at least three to four countries would sign up as host candidates.
Between the lines, Rahkamo lets on that Finland received a wish from abroad - in other words from the ISU - to enlist as a candidate.
Presumably at least the United States and Canada are also going to offer to host the event.
“The United States would be one solution. The main thing is that we will have World Championships this year”, Rahkamo ponders.
Figure skating is very popular in the United States and North America in general. Its television viewing figures are extremely high.
On the second weekend of April, Finland will host the World Synchronised Skating Championships at the Helsinki Ice Hall.
The World Figure Skating Championships are now rescheduled for April 24 – May 1.
According to chairwoman Rahkamo, there are plenty of issues and possible stumbling-blocks that have not even been looked into as yet.
Among many of the relevant considerations are for example the televising arrangements of the event and the availability of suitable ice arenas.
The booking capacity of Helsinki’s hotels in late April also needs to be checked.
As far as the budget of the event is concerned, Rahkamo’s only comment was that “it is in the millions of euros”.
“I don’t want to start guessing. We are currently looking into the budgets of the 1999 World Championships and the 2009 European Championships that were organised here.”
The minimum audience capacity for the World Championships is 8,000 seats. This means that in Finland only the cities of Helsinki and Turku would qualify.
Rahkamo was unable to comment on whether the 2010 World bronze medallist and the 2009 European Champion Laura Lepistö, who has been injured the entire season this year, might be able to recover in time to take part.
“That is completely Laura’s own decision.”
Helsingin Sanomat was unable to reach Lepistö or her coach Virpi Horttana for comment yesterday.
Previously in HS International Edition:
ISU calls off next week´s World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo (15.3.2011)
Laura Lepistö unable to participate in World Championships in Japan after all (8.3.2011)
ISU Press Release
ISU World Synchronised Skating Championships Helsinki 2011