Skaters should have their say

By Vladislav Luchianov 

View the skaters’ opinions below the article

I think we all already know about those ideas which are offered the ISU for the World Championships. Many specialists related to this sport found those ideas at least strange. Let’s start with the fact that ISU had no a “plan B “. How is this possible in the 21 century, when even without earthquakes and tsunamis there are other potential threats such as terroristic dangers and other emergencies? For such large events must be not only a “plan B “, but a “Plan C “!

Yesterday, in an interview with Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport, the president of ISU Ottavio Cinquanta said: “Our council will consider the situation very carefully. Presumably though, we will opt for the complete cancellation, or a postponement to October. In Tokyo, if the authorities give us the go ahead, or in a city in a different country, and in that eventuality there would be the promise to award Japan with an edition in the future. As soon as possible we will make a statement to make our decision official.”

In my opinion, a postponement of the Championships to October would be a big mistake. Firstly, the World Championships is not the Olympic Games and it is quite possible to hold it in another country in April and May of this year. By the way, I join the opinion of many people that all proceeds from these competitions should be sent to Japan as a sign of deep solidarity with the people experiencing now some of the most difficult times in its history.

Also, there are many ice arenas around the world well prepared to hold such tournaments.

Secondly, the postponement of competitions to October will lead to the destruction of training process of athletes in the summer for the new season. It is nonsense to train current programs and preparing the new ones.

Thirdly, I would not be surprised if the television companies, sponsors and managers will say: “It is difficult to predict this sport even in the organizational sphere!” It will the blow to the reputation of figure skating in the sports world.

There is another option proposed by the ISU – cancel the competition at all. In this case, it will be a complete disrespect for the athletes who competed the entire season, practiced and did a lot of work to go to this major competition of the year.

I’m sure it would be very effective if the skaters begun to tell their opinions. Clearly, understandable and loudly. They are the main protagonists of this sport. Maybe then ISU will become more democratic organization. Maybe then officials will listen and hear the athletes. Maybe then the sport will regain its independence from unacceptable decisions.

In developed countries there are parliaments that are elected by the people and represent their interests. I’d like to hope that the ISU will once reformed so, that each athlete’s voice will be heard. Otherwise, there arises a situation where officials separated from those to whom they are obliged to serve.

Opinions of skaters:

 Alissa Czisny (U.S. National Champion 2011, Grand Prix Final Champion 2010): “My dearest wish, with all due respect to the Japanese, is that they will hold worlds elsewhere. I can’t fathom what the Japanese people are going through right now, and my thoughts and prayers are continually with them.

I was sincerely looking forward to competing in Tokyo, and I hope that they will be awarded another event as soon as they are ready to host another event.

But, for all of us skaters, we have worked so hard for this event. Skating is our livelihood, our career, and so I wish that the world championships will be able to be held elsewhere in the near future.”

Nathalie Pechalat (European Ice Dance Champion 2011): “Of course, it could be the best thing to do: having the world championships somewhere else, and give the money to Japan as a solidarity gesture. I totally agree. This could be a perfect compromise for everyone.”

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