Skating officials now considering canceling worlds
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Germany announced Sunday it will not send a team to next week’s world figure skating championships in Tokyo, and international skating officials were weighing whether to even hold the event following the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country.
Germany, the United States and several European countries have advised citizens not to travel to Japan, and the German Ice Skating Union said in a statement it would follow that recommendation. The first German skaters would have left Wednesday for worlds, which are scheduled to begin March 21 at Yoyogi stadium in Tokyo.
U.S. Figure Skating said it was monitoring developments in consultation with the International Skating Union and U.S. Olympic Committee.
The ISU initially said Yoyogi stadium had been undamaged by Friday’s earthquake, and the worlds would begin as planned. But it said Sunday it was considering canceling the event because of the “very worrisome” nuclear crisis. The threat of multiple reactor meltdowns has forced the evacuation of more than 180,000 people and prompted fears of radiation contamination.
The ISU said it “respected” the Japanese skating federation’s desire to go ahead with worlds.
“However, the recent developments since Saturday … are very worrisome,” the ISU said in a statement, “and also resulted in travel advisories from many countries to avoid traveling to Japan until the situation is settled.”
The last time the world figure skating championships were canceled was in 1961 following the plane crash that killed the entire U.S. team.