World Championships move to Moscow, April 24-May 1

Moscow has been selected as the replacement host for the 2011 World Championships, which were originally to be held this week in Tokyo. The premiere yearly event in figure skating will be held April 24-May 1 at Moscow’s Megasport arena.

The competition was moved from Tokyo after the earthquake and tsunami earlier this month and the current nuclear crisis. Japan was also set to host the World Team Trophy in April but that event has been postponed until next year.

“Thank you to everyone who made this possible,” tweeted American ice dancer Alex Shibutani, who will compete with his sister Maia. “It will be my first trip to Russia, and I’m excited to compete in Moscow.”

Joining the Shibutanis, silver medalists at the 2011 U.S. Championships, on the World team are U.S. Champion Alissa Czisny and silver medalist Rachael Flatt (ladies); U.S. Champion Ryan Bradley, silver medalist Richard Dornbush and bronze medalist Ross Miner (men’s); U.S. Champions Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin and silver medalists Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig; and U.S. Champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White and bronze medalists Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein (ice dance). Czisny and the dance duo of Davis and White come into the event as the reigning Grand Prix Final Champions.

If Davis and White win the World Championship, they will be the only American ice dancers ever to claim the title. The U.S. receive it’s highest finish ever in ice dance when 2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto claimed the silver medal in 2005, skating at Moscow’s Luzhniki sports complex.

The International Skating Union (ISU), the sport’s world governing body, received application earlier this week from its member federations in Austria (Graz), Canada (Vancouver), Croatia (Zagreb), Finland (Turku), Russia (Moscow) and USA (Colorado Springs, Colo., or Lake Placid, N.Y.) to host the Worlds before announcing a selection Thursday. Each of the replacement sites were to hold the Worlds in months of April or May of this year.

“The organization of this major event with little time to prepare will require a high level effort from the Figure Skating Federation of Russia which has assured the ISU of its full cooperation including in areas such as easy access to entry visas and security,” the ISU said in a statement. “The preparation for the updating of all relevant details (time schedule, announcement, entry confirmations, etc.) have already begun and the ISU will revert as soon as possible with the necessary information.”

Click here to view the complete ISU statement.

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Photo courtesy of Leah Adams

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