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Lilac City Redux

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Spokane, Washington is one of the four finalists to host the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, according to KXLY.com. It is unclear what the other cities in the running are; the article doesn't mention and I couldn't find them in a quick look at the U.S. Figure Skating web site.

Interestingly, Spokane just hosted the championships in 2007. I'm a bit surprised that they would be in the running again so soon. The article says that when Spokane hosted it had record attendance, so maybe the city just did such a great job hosting that U.S. Figure Skating knows it can trust the folks there to put on a great show.

Members of the selection committee will be visiting Spokane to check out the Veterans Arena and other facilities that were in the spotlight last year when the Lilac City hosted the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Nationals, boasting record attendance levels.

That certainly helps to influence committee members as well as Spokane's close proximity to Vancouver, where the Olympics will be held several weeks after the championships.

"The proximity to Vancouver is huge and phenomenally in our favor that will help us a tremendous amount. It is right in our backyard," Barb Beddor of Star USA said.

I have no idea why being close to Vancouver would make any difference at all. It's not like the athletes are hitching the next truck to Vancouver right after the competition; they're obviously going home for a few weeks before they go to the Olympics. Maybe I'm being obtuse but if anyone knows why it would matter to be close to Vancouver, feel free to let me know. I also wonder if there are fewer cities vying for the championships these days, since the sport is losing viewers and sponsors. If so, then it would definitely make sense to have the championships in a city (like Spokane) where they know they can get the seats filled.