Monday, March 14, 2011

Worlds Called Off

ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 Tokyo

Lausanne, March 14, 2011

Taking into account the continued critical developments in Japan, the ISU’s primary concern for the safety of all participants, spectators and members of concerned entities as well as the travel advisories from many governments to avoid travel to Japan until the situation is settled, the ISU in consultation and agreement with the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) and in line with the advise of the Japanese authorities, has concluded that the staging of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 scheduled to be held on March 21-27, 2011 is not possible and the Championships will not be held during that time.

The postponement of the Event or alternatively the final cancellation is under evaluation.

The same applies to the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating scheduled to be held in Yokohama on April 14-17, 2011.

It is understood that a postponement of the above-mentioned World Championships as well as the holding of the ISU World Team Trophy is subject to the confirmation by the competent Japanese authorities that the situation is back to normal conditions allowing the safe conduct of major ISU sports Events in the Tokyo area.

As soon as the situation in this respect has been finalized, the ISU will inform all parties concerned of the decision taken.

Ottavio Cinquanta               Fredi Schmid
President                             Director General

48 comments:

  1. Interesting this says nothing about a possible, or potential, relocation.

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  2. I agree @8:52. Without any mention of relocation, I have to believe the event will be canceled.

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  3. I really don't see any other option than cancelling at this point. Even if they can book a suitable arena, the amount of planning and logistics that go into hosting Worlds takes months on end. It's definitely a shame for the skaters and fans, but of course the destruction, loss of life and threat of nuclear meltdown puts things in perspective.

    Aside from after the plane crash that killed the US team, has Worlds ever been cancelled before? Just wondering about the protocol for national teams. For example, would Ryan Bradley et al. still get to go to Worlds next year, or would they have to earn their spots again at Nationals? Curious if there's any precedent.

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  4. >Just wondering about the protocol for national teams. For example, would Ryan Bradley et al. still get to go ... Curious if there's any precedent.
    >
    Interesting question.
    My bet is that they would be inclined toward favoring the skaters (who have had their career progression put 'on hold' for an extra year through no fault of their own).

    Don't know if it would be a logistical mess, but they could include winners from both years (this year's canceled group and next year's group).

    While on paper it looks daunting, it would likely NOT result in doubling the number of contestants (as many would be repeats from one year to the next).
    Plus- there are some (Bradley?) who may well not stick around (given pro prospects).
    As such -the numbers (while increased slightly) might still well be manageable.

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  5. This is PATHETIC. Of course it makes sense to postpone the event, but it should not be canceled all together. The athletes have worked too hard to take Worlds away from them. I feel absolutely awful for Japan, but even THEY will want to move on with their daily lives eventually and not just think about the tragedy for the rest of the year. To already be postponing the World Team Trophy that isn't even this month or anywhere near the earthquake site is just a huge shame. I hope the ISU does the right thing and tries to reschedule Worlds. Maybe it won't be a financial success, but it would be in the best interest of the ATHLETES.

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  6. I don't care if they hold Worlds in Snowplow Sam Ice Arena in East Jabibble, Wisconsin, in front of two spectators.... They should hold Worlds!

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  7. Cancel it. It's won't be the end of the world.

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  8. it is a bad situation either way. It would be amazing for the Japanese skaters to come out, skate well and win for their country after all that has happened, but simply getting to the country would present a major problem as of now. Very very sad but there really is no way to win here.

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  9. Holding Worlds without being able to sell tickets to spectators and major sponsorships to companies means losing lots of money. Hosting worlds is expensive, which is probably why other countries are not lining up to host the event.

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  10. "I feel absolutely awful for Japan, but even THEY will want to move on with their daily lives eventually and not just think about the tragedy for the rest of the year."

    I think the key word there is "eventually." The impact on the northeast and Tokyo is going to be felt for some time. And the main issue now is the nuclear risk. No skaters or spectators in their right minds will go to a tiny country where nuclear reactors are possibly melting down.

    As as pointed out, if they move Worlds, there would be a big shortfall in advertising and ticket revenue. An event of this size takes a long time to pull together. I don't think anyone wants Worlds to be cancelled, but there is likely no other viable option.

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  11. i agreee with anon 1:32! there are enough people who want to make this happen that something could work. naive: why does everything have to be about money? that's a boring world to live in. there are a lot more good reasons than bad reasons to find a way to hold worlds this year.

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  12. "Don't know if it would be a logistical mess, but they could include winners from both years (this year's canceled group and next year's group)."

    Hmm. I agree, it wouldn't double the number of contestants, since many are repeats, etc. But not sure I can see the ISU going for that. It would likely make the most sense to just consider this Worlds a wash, and start fresh next season. It'll be interesting to see how they handle the situation if they do cancel. Perhaps it would be up to individual federations. If they did keep this year's World teams, it would certainly take the wind out of the sails of skaters who know that they can't make the team no matter how well they do.

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  13. How long can they postpone Worlds without disrupting everyone's training?

    Perhaps ISU could allow for slightly larger teams at 2012 Worlds.

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  14. completely depressing.

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  15. I don't see why moving Worlds and holding them slightly later would effect revenue. Advertising revenue would likely be about the same. TV sponsors etc will still pay for it be to broadcast, to have their name painted on the boards, to have their name in programs/on signage. Tickets sales may be lower, but is that usually the largest revenue stream for Worlds?

    I think it would be great for the Japanese to see their skaters compete and medal (as some surely will) as a boost to Japanese morale. Skating is big there.

    I think it would be great for all the skaters if the ISU could make it happen somehow elsewhere.

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  16. i wonder what maribel vincent owen would say.

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  17. "How long can they postpone Worlds without disrupting everyone's training?"

    Also, many of the top skaters have tour/show commitments starting in April with Stars on Ice, etc.

    It's very unfortunate, but I don't think it's as easy to shift the venue/country of a major competition as some might think.

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  18. >"To already be postponing the World Team Trophy that isn't even this month or anywhere near the earthquake site is just a huge shame."<

    Maybe you should read a bit more on the issues all of Japan is facing right now. Just because Tokyo-Yokohama was far enough from the epicenter not to sustain permanent damage does not mean in any way that it was not affected. In Tokyo, schools and many offices remain closed because mass transit is still not fully back; rolling blackouts have been planned throughout the country in order to save energy; supermarket shelves are completely empty because supplies are being sent to the hardest-hit areas, not enough is coming in, and residents are stocking up in anticipation of further aftershocks.

    Perhaps more than any other country, Japan thinks and feels as a collective entity. That the epicenter was closer to a different prefecture is irrelevant; holding the World Team Trophy would be insensitive regardless of whether it is held in Hokkaido or Okinawa.

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  19. Well, it would affect local revenue. The Japanese Fed pumped a ton of money into preparation on the assumption they'd get it all back in ticket sales, advertising, merch, etc. They lose all of that. They're basically out of all that money, which affects skaters (among other things). Obviously, for top-ranked Japanese skaters, that isn't an issue (they make more money doing shows), but for younger, up-and-coming skaters who aren't making lots of money participating in huge shows, that is going to hurt.

    Basically, the JSF takes a huge hit if they move Worlds.

    Canceling Worlds is going to fuck up points. How do you decide who gets GP assignments? Or where? Against whom? Moving Worlds *is* a logistical nightmare (finding places for everyone, enough open rink time, press, etc), but if Japan isn't ready, it definitely is the best option. Canceling Worlds makes figure skating next season, uhm, interesting.

    I'm saying all of this from a practical point of view, however. Obviously, from a humanitarian point of view, the welfare of the Japanese people is most important. But there are other things the ISU has to consider besides that. Japan's needs outweigh the ISU's bureaucratic needs, but it all factors together.

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  20. Gymnastics Worlds are supposed to be in Japan in the fall too. I'm beginning to wonder if this will be a possibility given the utter devastation that Japan has endured. THese worlds are the qualifier for the London 2012 Olympics, so they have to be held....somewhere.

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  21. "How do you decide who gets GP assignments?"

    Perhaps from the Euros and 4CC results??

    What? P Chan and Kim,Y thought 4CC was beneath thier talents? Too bad, so sad.

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  22. Phillip Hersh's interview with Cinquanta

    http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/sports_globetrotting/2011/03/cinquanta-isu-must-decide-worlds-fate-within-three-or-four-days-.html

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  23. @4:53, what about Oda who wasn't assigned to 4CC? That's not fair.

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  24. (Same anon as above, posted too soon, meep.)

    Not every top skater was assigned to participate at 4CC. For example, the entire US men's team is lopsided. Dornbush, for example, didn't go to Jr. Worlds, wasn't assigned to 4CC, and basically ends the best season of his life (so far) at a huge deficit in ISU points. Those who did go to 4CC will have a great advantage over those who didn't go (for whatever reason), and that's just not fair. In the case of Chan and Kim, maybe you're right, but not every fed wanted to send all of its best skaters. Murakami stayed at home and she was a huge contender for a medal at Worlds.

    4CC doesn't function the same way as Euros. Plus, skaters were training to peak at Worlds. Mao may not have the greatest international results right now, but she's in position to earn a medal at Worlds. Without Worlds, this entire season is null.

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  25. Local skating clubs host competitions all the time, and they sometimes attract hundreds of participants... They certainly don't prep for these events three years in advance. I know local competitions are not Worlds, but the general concept is similar-- hundreds of athletes in need of competition and practice ice. I find it hard to believe that it would be an incredible logistical nightmare to get Worlds up and running somewhere within a decent time frame. Maybe the ISU wouldn't be able to dilly dally and take their time in preparation, but it seems something could be thrown together.

    The events of Japan are tragic, but tragic times are great times for boosts of morale, and the Japanese skaters skating well at Worlds is one way to cheer up the mood a bit.

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  26. If they need to find a new place to host Worlds, South Korea would be the logical choice, IMO. They are nuts about figure skating, would probably build a rink special for the event just to see Yu-Na Kim skate, and are close enough to Japan that theoretically, Japanese ticket holders could still use their tickets. Or at least sell them to South Koreans who want to attend. Add in donation/relief bins at the doors and it is a win for everyone.

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  27. Besides the CBC bias, this article is pretty good re: Worlds and relocation: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/pjkwong/2011/03/switching-skating-venues-not-a-likely-option.html

    Quote: "To get an idea of what was involved, he indicated that there were 600 volunteers, hundreds of hotel rooms and two separate ice surfaces."

    It's waaay more than just getting the skaters on the ice.

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  28. this is so frustrating. It seems like everyone is worried about having the exact same event that they were expecting and not coming up with a smaller alternative that features the skaters' interest in competiting. Just because it won't make as much money or as many people won't be accomodated to be there to see it, doesn't mean that there aren't solutions so that World Champions could be crowned this year. No one seems willing to put the skaters first and have the event for THEM no matter what, and no matter who gets their big profits.

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  29. Who cares, our skaters suck. The ones that do not suck are so god damn ugly they should not be seen on any world stage except for the international circus of the freaks!

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  30. Selfish JSF.
    They don't care about athletes at all.

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  31. You're kidding me, right.

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  32. @Anonymous 8:01 PM "Who cares, our skaters suck..."

    I should not be laughing at your comments, but I am. Does that make me jaded?

    @sad 8:34 PM "Selfish JSF..."

    I know, right? Admittedly, I'm not so much of a skating fan, so I'm not feeling the passionate outrage of not having Worlds. But still, they're in the midst of a nuclear crisis in addition to having hundreds of dead bodies washing ashore. I just can't get into the "hey, let's throw 'em a skating competition, that will boost morale" kind of mindset right now. Does that make me jaded?

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  33. One doesn't just throw together a major international athletic competition, it requires years of advance planning.

    A skating competition isn't going to exactly boost morale with 2,000 dead and 10,000 more missing and a nuclear threat looming.

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  34. Japan Skating Federation seems to think that had better cancel than transfer Worlds to the other country. lol.
    In their minds, there is not consideration for 'not-Japanese' skaters.

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  35. It doesn't matter what the JSF wants... The ISU makes the call.

    As for a skating competition "not boosting morale". Are you kidding me? Skating is huge in Japan and sports have brought people together worldwide to celebrate peace and harmony. Ever heard of the Olympics? It's not just about sports.

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  36. Would the skaters, esp. the Japanese skaters, even *want* to skate so soon? Would people all over the world, esp. the Japanese, even pay *attention* to a competition taking place so soon (excluding certain diehard skating fans)? It may make sense to think the skaters want to do this, or that the Japanese people would like a morale booster, but that's not necessarily true at all, particularly not in the next week or so. Maybe a postponement is in order, but if it's ultimately cancelled, it's still not the end of the world, and I think the athletes will understand. This is not some political boycott or anything - it's a natural disaster.

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  37. Regarding moving Worlds to South Korea. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they were nuts about Yu-Na Kim only there, not figure skating in general. Is there a guarantee there's going to be enough interest (and tix sales) for pairs, men and ice dance?

    I watched the videos of Junior Worlds earlier this month, and it looked like the venue wasn't anywhere near being sold out.

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  38. I have heard Korea don't have sufficient facilities for a big competition such as Sr Worlds.
    And I think Yuna fans pray that Worlds is 'NOT' relocated to Korea. Haha.

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  39. I'm sure the skaters who have trained to peak for this moment want Worlds to be held. A lot of people cope with tragedy by trying to do happy/distracting things anyway. Participating at Worlds is often a skater's lifelong goal, and to deny them the opportunity to compete is just devastating-- Not natural disaster devastating, but clearly sad in it's own right. I hope they can find an alternative location quickly, and have lowered their expectations as to how high quality the event has to run. The skaters will understand if things don't run as smoothly as expected.

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  40. BRING WORLDS BACK TO THE STAPLES CENTER!

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  41. We all know JSF really LOVES $$$. suck.
    Cinquanta has no power. He just JSF's slave.

    Now, ISU need to rename it JSU.

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  42. Really unfair to the skaters to cancel - what if some are injured next year and can't compete?

    The Japanese team is so good this year, I think it would boost morale in Japan to see them competing on the ice - even if in another country.

    Don't understand all the talk about all the preparations necessary - they could hold the thing on a rink with just the skaters & judges, let the judges rate the skaters the way they used to, without benefit of video playback, etc.

    Training situation might be hampered - let any skaters who didn't like the conditions drop out.

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  43. A lot of people here with their heads up their asses. Jesus. A good chunk of the comments here make me want to scream. Talk about selfish.

    But I'll address why you can't just moved Worlds at the last minutes to Staples Center, as is suggested above. There is at least one, and sometimes two, events already scheduled for the rest of the month. The Clippers, Kings, and Lakers have already paid rent on those events. Tickets have already been sold, officials have been scheduled, travel arrangements made for officials as well as visiting teams. The NHL and NBA are NOT going to rearrange their schedules to accommodate ISU; in fact, it would probably be impossible for them to rearrange the schedules, even if they wanted to. It's a logistical nightmare, because it's not just those 3 teams, but all the visiting teams, too. You can't just say, "Since the Sharks are supposed to play the Kings on Monday, just have them play at the Sharks home arena." Odds are since the Sharks are away, another event is scheduled there. It's also lost revenue for the Kings and Staples Center, and it means the Kings, Lakers, and Clippers would no longer have the same number of home games as away games; that's not going to fly.

    And what sort of heartless person is going to deny the people of LA their god-given right to enjoy a night with Lady Gaga? HUH?

    This issue isn't exclusive to LA. You'll run into it no matter where you try to move worlds. Even if worlds could be moved, where are you going to scrounge up enough volunteers on short notice? Can you find anything close to the necessary accommodations?

    It sucks that worlds is canceled, but this isn't selfish on the part of the JSF or ISU. It's reality. Japan is a disaster zone. No other location is available to host on such short notice.

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  44. A solution might be to transfer the WC to the WTT date and location and cancel the WTT, or, certify the winning nation based on WC results.

    The scale of the preparations would obviously be different, but it would be starting from something as opposed to scratch and it would keep the event in Japan.

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  45. This sort of reminds me of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. It happened during the World Series between Oakland and San Francisco. Obviously, the scope of the destruction wasn't the same and there were no issues with nuclear reactors, but they did go on to play the series a couple of weeks later. It was not quite the same (and they played all of the games in Oakland), but it did provide some fun and escapism for the Bay Area.

    I'm not suggesting worlds should be held in Tokyo. I'm pretty sure it's unworkable. But I do agree that there are people in Japan who would enjoy watching the event at least on TV if it were held elsewhere.

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  46. I seriously doubt that moving Worlds to replace the WTT is practical either. Even if all of the acute problems resulting from the earthquake and tsunami calm down, it seems highly unlikely that the infrastructure needed to support an international event would be back in place. The nuclear reactors in Fukushima are done for, and until new sources of electricity can be built, purchased, or otherwise found, there is going to be a national shortage. That alone makes an electricity-intensive event nearly impossible.

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  47. No need to cancel as long as an alternative location can be found in a reasonable amount of time. Having to shake head at all those on FSU who swore worlds could be held as scheduled in Tokyo because Tokyo wasn't affected by quake or tsunami

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