First of all, our hearts go out to all of those affected by the earthquake and consequent events in Japan and throughout the world.
The world championships were scheduled to take place in Tokyo this month. Shortly following the earthquake, the International Skating Union reported that the championship venue was unaffected and that the event would go on. Things don't appear as clear a few days later, as Phil Hersh reports that Ottavio Cinquanta states that the danger of radioactivity near Tokyo due to the nuclear reactor meltdown means that they'll have to reevaluate the championships and the safety of holding them in Tokyo. And even if it's safe to have the competition in Tokyo, some are wondering if it's appropriate so soon after the tragedy, when many will still be missing and the devastation is still so fresh.
Jo-Ann Barnas points out that the U.S. has advised citizens to avoid traveling to Japan, so why are we contemplating sending them there for the championships? The French Federation has already called back Florent Amodio, who was training in the country.
Sporting events have taken place relatively soon after terrible catastrophes. The 2008 Beijing Olympics, for instance, began just 88 days after after an earthquake in its Sichuan Province killed nearly 70,000 people. The 1986 soccer World Cup took place nine months after a massive earthquake in Mexico killed an estimated 10,000.
One can say it was heartless to hold those events as planned, but at least some months had passed in each case.
That is not the case with the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships.
It would be cruel, immoral, unsafe and -- to put it in terms sports officials should grasp -- simply impractical to let this event take place as scheduled.
Hamlet said, ``The time is out of joint'' as he assessed setting right the situation he faced.
So it is now in Japan, even if the cause is not a single murder but a thousandfold deadly natural event.
It is the time for skating officials to do the right thing.
There can be no World Figure Skating Championships in Japan this month.
I truly believe in the healing power of sports after tragedies, but it really is so soon after and the country will still be reeling from this next week, not to mention the various countries that are advising citizens not to travel to Japan. What do you think, is it too soon to hold the championships in Japan? And if it is, should there be a new venue or should the ISU simply postpone the event?