So, by now most know that there are three options for the International Skating Union, which still has yet to decide what to do with the 2011 world championships that were meant to be held in Tokyo next week. Here are my takes on each option:
1) Holding the event in Japan in October. According to Phil Hersh, Ottavio Cinquanta and the ISU really want to hold the event in Japan, or essentially nowhere else. Some see this as a sign of respect and deference to the crisis that Japan is going through. Others think its due to the political and financial power of the Japanese Skating Federation (JSF) and Japan, which seems to desperately still want the championships. Here is an excerpt from Hersh's article regarding the JSF's press conference. The problem here is that the JSF's press conference said that they have until May to decide if they can host an event in October, and Cinquanta has said that the country has already indicated that they could host an event this fall, and so the ISU still says they'll have a decision by Monday aboutt he championships.
The skaters obviously want this event to go on before October. Most of the fans do as well. I think it would make more sense for the sport if the event could go on before October (because the summer is when the skaters tend to choreograph their new programs and the new season starts with the Grand Prix in October). I have to say that if Japan could pull this off in October, it has the potential to be an amazing event..heartwarming to the Japanese people and skating fans alike...good for the sport. I am also not one of those people who says that if the ISU can't hold worlds before October, then just cancel it. I want there to be a 2011 world champion on the books and I don't mind if that messes with Grand Prix...obviously being world champion is more important than being Skate America champion any day. And this is such a unique circumstance that I feel like a move to October so that Japan can host might be justified.
The problem? How can Japan honestly say by today or Monday that they'd be ready to host such an event? Look at the devastation that is still going on. It seems that any answer they give comes with a qualification, unfortunately.
2) Relocation. You've read about the countries that have volunteered to host. Unfortunately, Cinquanta and the ISU appear to not even really be considering this. Cinquanta has been quoted saying that you would lose skaters if you do this event in April, May, etc., because of exhibition commitments. Personally, I think that's unfortunate, but it's worth it if it means we still have a world championship. I just don't think Cinquanta is going to do this event if it means taking it away from Japan. If it is logistically possible to hold the event soon, I wish they would do it.
3) Cancelling the event. Honestly, I think this is the way the ISU is leaning. They don't really want to move the event to October in Japan, and they don't think it's possible/don't want to get all the necessary pieces in place to have the event soon elsewhere. In this case, I am with Vlad of World Figure Skating and anyone else who asks why the ISU doesn't have a Plan B. I mean, most major sports are expected to have fallback plans. When one NFL stadium is unavailable for a scheduled game due to weather or other troubles, another stadium is found. Obviously, the earthquake in Japan cannot be compared to any other situation, but most organizations are expected to do emergency planning and I expect the ISU to do so, as well.
So let me know what you think of the options. Also, is it disrespectful to what Japan is going through to consider moving the championships?