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Coming soon: seating details for figure skating event

Listen up, skating fans: For those who bought tickets for the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships waaaay in advance, you’re finally going to find out where you’ll be sitting for the Jan. 21-28 event.

Tickets are scheduled to be mailed the week of Dec. 11. In order to determine the seating, tickets were time-stamped when they were bought. Thus, the earlier the purchase, the better the location.

Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, local promoter Toby Steward of Star USA said more than 100,000 tickets have been sold. The women’s final, traditionally the most popular event at competitions, is close to selling out. It will be held at 10:40 a.m. (live TV) on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Sasha to Spokane?

No one seems to know for sure, but as the event closes in, it looks as if Spokane has a better chance of landing Sacha Baron Cohen than Sasha Cohen.

According to Cohen’s Web site journal,, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist and defending national champion is working on her acting career. She writes that she’s taking acting classes a couple days a week. She also had a role in “CSI New York” and is in the upcoming movie “Moondance Alexandra.”

Cohen’s only competition since last season’s World Cup was in October at the Campbell Cup in Cincinnati. The U.S. Figure Skating event was a team competition, and Cohen performed her short program from last year.

Cohen also is scheduled to skate in the Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating Challenge in Boston on Dec. 10. The made-for-TV live event will feature interactive fan voting that will determine the winners in a showdown among U.S. figure skating’s biggest stars.

Other skaters who plan to perform in Boston – and are expected to be in Spokane for nationals – are World champion Kimmie Meissner, Four Continents champion Katy Taylor, U.S. bronze medalist Emily Hughes, three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir, two-time World medalist Evan Lysacek, two-time U.S. pairs champions Rena Inoue and John Baldwin, and Olympic ice dancing silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.

U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith, who was in Seattle at last weekend’s Pacific Coast Sectional Championships, said he probably won’t know until late December or early January whether Cohen plans to compete at nationals.

But it sounds like the 22-year-old hasn’t closed the door just yet.

Cohen wrote on her Web journal that she’s been practicing skating and working on a couple of new programs with choreographer Phillip Mills.

She continues to say she’s committed to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics while keeping her options open as she explores different ventures this season.

“As the years wind down to the Olympics, I will give it my full attention,” she said.

When it was mentioned to Raith that the fans and the local promoters hope Cohen decides to compete at the 2007 nationals, he quickly responded, “So do we.”

The art of skating

The MAC and Gonzaga University Arcade Gallery are getting involved in the national figure skating hoopla.

A collection of ice skating memorabilia is on display through Feb. 4 at the MAC, 2316 W. First Ave.

The collection is on loan from the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., which includes performance costumes, gold medals, photographs and ephemera from several American champions.

The exhibit also features the official U.S. Figure Skating Championship trophies, which are engraved with the names of all of the champions in women’s, men’s, pairs and dancing. The trophies rarely travel.

Admission ranges from $7 for adults to free for children 5 years and under.

At Gonzaga’s Jundt Art Museum, 502 E. Boone Ave., the “Sports of All Sorts” exhibition runs from Dec. 1 until March 10.

The free exhibition features sporting prints from the school’s permanent collection. Ice skating is included in the selections.

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