April 15, 2006 in City

Spokane bid for worlds falls flat

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane was not the chosen city.

Skating promoters Toby Steward and Barb Beddor of Star USA were told Friday that the U.S. Figure Skating Association has selected another city in its bid to host the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships should the United States be awarded the bid.

The selection committee has decided on Los Angeles.

A representative from Cleveland, which also was a finalist city, confirmed L.A. had been selected. David Gilbert, president of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, said he was told earlier in the week Cleveland had not won the bid. Several other cities submitted proposals to play host to the international event, such as Portland, which did not make the final three.

“There is no silver medal in this (competition),” Beddor said. “But there is a silver lining. Spokane got tons of exposure.”

In its attempt to woo the selection committee, a two-man team that visited the top three candidate cities, Star USA and the city organized a red-carpet rally last week. International flags flew, a marching band played and civic-minded citizens lined a block on Post Street in support of Spokane’s bid.

“We put everything on the table,” Steward said. “There is nothing we could have changed.”

Spokane is hosting the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 21-28, a bid that Star USA won more than 1 ½ years before announcing its plan to bid on the world championships.

Gov. Chris Gregoire spoke at a press conference in October announcing the state’s support.

“I’m disappointed,” Gregoire said Friday. “I thought Spokane was the perfect city with the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.”

USFA next will make a proposal for its bid city to the International Skating Union. The world championships have been held in the United States 11 times, most recently in 2003. The span between years the competition has been in the U.S. has been five to six, making 2009 the U.S.’s unofficial turn.

If selected, this will be the first time Los Angeles would play host to Worlds. It played host to the Nationals in 2002, breaking the attendance record of 125,345 spectators. The Staples Center, L.A.’s main skating venue, seats more than 17,000 for figure skating. The Spokane Arena seats about 10,000.

“Unfortunately, we cannot change our size, but we are convinced that in just over nine months, Spokane will host one of the most spectacular U.S. Figure Skating Championships in history,” Beddor said.


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