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Welcome to Everett!

HeraldNet has a couple of Skate America primers for you. Here is an introduction to Everett, Washington, where Skate America will be held this weekend from October 24 through the 26.

Barb Beddor, who along with her husband, Toby Steward, submitted winning bids and organized the ice skating events in Spokane, said Skate America is a terrific opportunity for Everett.

An event of this stature "can put you on the map, can be a launching pad," Beddor said. "It's also a great opportunity to showcase a community that the nation might not be aware of."

Television coverage in Spokane included scenic shots of the Eastern Washington city.

In Everett, more than 150 reporters and photographers traveling to Skate America were invited for tours of the Everett-based aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection. Planned tours of Boeing Co.'s Everett jumbo jet factory -- the world's largest building by volume -- were cancelled because of the Boeing machinists strike, which is in its 44th day.

U.S. Figure Skating, the national governing body for figure skating based in Colorado Springs, Colo., cites community support as one of the key reasons Everett's bid was successful.

And here is an introduction to the Skate America competition. Some basics:

Each year, the International Skating Union (ISU) conducts a series of six Grand Prix of Figure Skating events leading up to the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Skate America is the first of this year's six Grand Prix events.

The other Grand Prix events are Skate Canada International in Ottawa, Oct. 31-Nov. 2; Cup of China in Beijing, Nov. 6-9; Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris, Nov. 13-16; Cup of Russia in Moscow, Nov. 20-23; and the NHK Trophy in Tokyo, Nov. 27-30. This year's Grand Prix Final will be in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 10-14.

The world's top skaters, based on their ISU rankings, are guaranteed spots in two of the six Grand Prix events. Based on their combined scores from those events, the top six individual skaters and teams advance to the Grand Prix Finals.