Monday, March 21, 2011

THE SOAP OPERA THAT IS FIGURE SKATING
By Alina Adams

I have no doubt that I gravitated to, and ended up working in, figure skating due to its obviously soapy elements. The back-stabbing! The partner-swapping! The heavy eye make-up!

But, for anyone who thinks the drama is limited to skaters, coaches and assorted hangers-on, that ain't nothing compared to the behind the scenes politics.

The 2011 World Figure Skating Championships were supposed to kick off in Japan this week. Due to the recent tragedy, it isn't going to happen. But, the International Skating Union (ISU) only came to that conclusion today. (Seriously, people?)

Now the hunt is on for a new site. The US, Russia, and Finland have all volunteered venues.

But, the ISU, according to Phil Hersh's column, posted a list of hoops for the host country to jump through first:

* A main arena with a MINIMUM of 8,000 seats. That would apparently rule out one of the two arenas U.S. Figure Skating proposed (Lake Placid) when it wrote the ISU last week to express interest in the possibility of taking over the event. The other proposed site, Colorado Springs, barely meets the minimum.

* 700 hotel rooms, which would probably rule out either U.S. possibility, although U.S. Figure Skating would have covered some of the housing with dormitory rooms at the U.S. Olympic training centers in Lake Placid and Colorado Springs.

* And, the big ticket ($2 million?) item, putting up the TV production and signal ``free of charge'' to the ISU and its TV rights holders.

Yeah... that last one.

With a change of venue at this late date, ticket sales are probably going to be sluggish anyway, so the size of the arena is negotiable. And hotel rooms? Eh, we'll make people double and triple up. They're skaters, most of them are tiny to begin with.

But, give out a free broadcast signal? Excuse me... the major networks (US, anyway) don't play that.

Stay tuned, folks! This soap will only get juicier!

***

Alina Adams covered the US and World Figure Skating Championships for ABC and ESPN, and the 1998 Olympic Games for TNT. She turned her experiences into a series of Figure Skating Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime... with names and details changed to protect the innocent - and the litigious.

For more fun figure skating facts, check out a special themed: "Did You Know?" at: http://www.eileenschuh.com/did-you-know/ (and enter to win some free stuff!)

4 comments:

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