Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Update 11:53PM EST: The French Federation has suggested having an April or May Worlds, giving Japan the 2012 Worlds, bumping France back to 2013 and Canada to 2014.  This would give France the envious position of having the pre-Olympics Worlds.  Skate Canada has said there is no way they would go for this suggestion:

Update 9:52PM EST: The US has offered Colorado Springs and Lake Placid as possible Worlds locations in April or May: 

Cinquanta says that he is waiting to hear from the Japanese Federation before deciding on Worlds but will make a decision without their input if he doesn't hear in the next few days.  He also says that complete cancellation is unlikely:

Jason Dugjen who coaches Alissa Czisny says he would prefer cancelation over an October Worlds.  Igor Shpilband (who coaches five dance teams headed to Worlds) said that April or May would be fine for Worlds and that the ISU is not taking the skaters into consideration.  Pasquale Camerlengo who has two dance teams going to Worlds said that October wouldn't be possible:

Update 6:16PM EST: The Russian Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy has sent a letter to the ISU saying they are ready to host in Moscow in the near future, promising competition and practice rinks, hotels and visa support:

Update 4:50PM EST: Malmo, Sweden say they are ready and able to step in to host Worlds and can do it quickly:

Update 4:10PM EST: An interview with Russian Ice Dancer Elena Ilinykh in which she says she would not be in favor of an October Worlds but that the athletes could adapt their training to compete in April:

Update 3:53PM EST: Cinquanta in an interview has ruled out April-September as possible dates for Worlds.  He said April was too soon and May was not in the best interest of the ISU.  He also thinks the performances will be better in October than in May:

Update 11:30AM EST: ISU President Cinquanta has confirmed that they are looking at October in Japan just prior to Skate America as "we must take into account that Japan got the right to hold a World Championships."  He has also said that some skaters have informed him they cannot come to Worlds in April due to tour contracts.  When asked about how the skaters would feel about the change in schedule, he responded "You cannot always listen to what the skaters want. These are exceptional circumstances. Some of the skaters are even minors."

Full article here:

Update 10:02AM EST: Oberstdorf is saying they are ready to step in and put on Worlds:;art14,23676

Update 8:11AM EST: Turin is saying that they will move events to make room for the World Championships and their arena has ice ready in April for the athletes to use: 

The Japanese Skating Federation has offered up autumn to the ISU as a possible date for the country to host Worlds:

Update 8:09AM EST: This Korean sources says the Korean Federation has not been contacted about hosting Worlds but if they were, they would consider it:

Update March 16 7:59AM EST: The ISU is hoping to make a decision about Worlds on Friday or Monday:,10869,4844-128590-19728-18885-312863-3787-4771-layout160-129898-news-item,00.html

Update 7:52PM EST: The ISU President is now saying that Worlds will either be canceled, moved to another city or moved to October in Tokyo:

Update 5:10 PM EST: Elena Glebova has left Japan according to this news article from Estonia.  They also claim that Turin and Lausanne have been offered up as venues by their respective countries:

Update 4:26PM EST: The Russian Figure Skating Federation has spoken to officials in Moscow and has decided not to put in an offer to host Worlds.  They were not approached by ISU:

Update March 15 7:25AM EST: According to the Washington Post, US Figure Skating offered a location in the US for Worlds but received no response from the ISU:

Update 8:47PM EST: This Washington Post article states that ISU officials spent the day seeking an alternate venue for Worlds and reiterates that U.S. Figure Skating has offered assistance but has not been asked to host:

A nice article about how Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen are planning on adjusting Alissa Czisny and Jeremy Abbott's training schedules with Worlds and the World Team Trophy postponed:

Update 2:56PM EST: In this article: ISU VP David Dore said switching venues is not an option, and that if Worlds is still going to occur, it will need to be in the next 6 weeks:

Update 11:17AM EST: The ISU President has said that a final decision regarding Worlds will be made in the next three to four days and the Council will meet tomorrow.  He did suggest that moving the event is a possibility.  U.S. Figure Skating officials are reporting that they have not been contacted regarding hosting Worlds.

Update 10:51AM EST: This German article lists Lausanne, Turin, Vancouver and Taipei as cities that have been contacted about holding the Championships:  Phil Hersh has reported on Twitter that Skate Canada will not be hosting the event.  The article also mentions that the ice rink where Savchenko and Szolkowy train does not have ice past March.  This may be a problem for other competitiors as well if the competition is delayed too long.

Update 9:06AM EST: The ISU has released a statement this morning postponing Worlds and the World Team Trophy.  No date has been given.  The continued postponement or cancellation is under final evaluation.  The full statement is here:,10869,4844-128590-19728-18885-312813-3787-4771-layout160-129898-news-item,00.html

Update March 14th 12:19AM EST: This site is reporting that Worlds will be delayed 21 days but will still be in Tokyo:  Still awaiting official decision of the ISU.

Update 11:53PM EST: This Japanese site is reporting that Worlds have been postponed:

And another article which says the Championships have been postponed and an official statement will be available later today:

Still no official word from the ISU or the JSF. 

Update 8:39PM EST: It has been reported that Kim Lucine (from Monaco) has posted the following on his Facebook: "A little message while i have internet, we woke up at 2AM to try to find a ticket to go back to europe, it's 5AM now and i think we found a ticket for 10AM but we have to go to the airport to check. i won't have internet anymore so i'll keep you posted when i'll be somewhere else. World Championnship are gonna be reported in Lausan, Korea or Canada!!!"

Update 2:38PM EST: It has been reported that Florent Amodio is saying on his Facebook that Worlds has been canceled.  Thanks to a reader for sharing this image of his FB page:

Ingo Steuer has said even if Worlds did go on, he would not send Savchenko and Szolkowy.  Now the German Federation has announced that they have withdrawn their entire team:

Michael Slipchuk has said on Canadian TV that if Worlds occurs, it will be up to individual Canadian skaters whether they wanted to attend.  He was also asked about the possibility of holding Worlds in Canada and said that Skate Canada would do whatever it could to support the ISU.

Update 10:34AM EST: The ISU has released a new statement indicating that they are reevaluating the feasibility of holding Worlds in Tokyo.  The statement indicates that they will either hold the championships as planned or cancel, and does not mention the possibility of a delay or a new venue.  They said a final decision would be available by tomorrow morning at the latest.,10869,4844-128590-19728-18885-312807-3787-4771-layout160-129898-news-item,00.html

The British government has also issued a travel advisory warning against all non-essential travel to Tokyo.  They are reporting that while Narita airport is open, many flights are still being canceled and transportation to and from the airport is difficult:

Update March 13th 12:44AM EST: Japanese officials are now operating under the assumption that a partial meltdown of the nuclear reactor cores is underway.  They insist, however, that no radiation has been leaked.

The U.S. Geological Survey is also reporting that there have been 140 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or higher.

Airports are back up and running as is limited rail service and those without electricity have dropped to 2.5 million from 6 million.

Update 9:01PM EST: A few US journalists have begun posting news articles advocating either canceling, postponing or changing venues for Worlds:|topnews|text|Sports

Based on the information I've been gathering, it seems that the U.S. media coverage has differed from other countries.  The ISU is set to make a final decision early this week.  I know that a lot of people reading this post are from Japan.  If you have any thoughts or insights please share them in the comment section.    

Update 12:39PM EST: International Figure Skating on Facebook is reporting that they've heard from Daisuke Takahashi's manager and Takahashi is safe.

Update 11:25AM EST: Elena Glebova has reported on her Facebook that she is in Japan and is safe.

Update 9:58AM EST: Florent Amodio has just tweeted that all the flights are full so he'll have to wait a few days before leaving, but he has confirmed that he is trying to leave Japan.

Update 9:15AM EST: A few rumors that I can't seem to back up but am putting here anyway.  Javier Fernandez is already in Japan but is safe.  The French Federation has ordered Florent Amodio to return home and will fly back tomorrow.  Kim Lucine of Montenegro is also leaving Japan and returning home

Update March 12th 8:41AM EST: Nobunari Oda was in Canada at the time of the quake and he hopes to return to Japan soon to see his wife and son who were both unharmed:

Update 4:05PM EST: Skate Canada says the majority of their athletes are scheduled to leave for Tokyo on the 18th.  They are evaluating the situation to determine if they will send their athletes and may leave the decision to attend up to the individual competitors.

Update 2:22PM EST: A 6.6 quake has just hit Nagano along a different fault line than the first quake.  Nagano is 110 miles from Tokyo.  No word yet on impact.

Update 12:53PM EST: Yuka Sato says that both of her parents who coach in Japan are fine as well as students Takahiko Kozuka and Mao Asada:|newswell|text|Sports|s

Update 11:30AM EST: According to a statement by the ISU President, it looks like they are planning on moving forward with Worlds.,10869,4844-128590-19728-18885-312800-3787-4771-layout160-129898-news-item,00.html

And the State Department has issued a Travel Alert to Japan through April 1st.  According to the alert, airports and public transportation in Tokyo are shut down and some roads are damaged:

Update: 11:26AM EST Here is an article about Volozhar and Trankov and also states that a decision on whether to move Worlds will be made later this week:

Japan was hit with an 8.9 earthquake and massive tsunami overnight leaving a portion of the country devastated.  My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected.

The World Figure Skating Championships are set to open in Tokyo in just 10 days and there is speculation about whether they will continue.  Earlier today, the ISU released this statement (it has since been taken down from their website):
Japan Quake - ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 Situation
11 Mar 2011 10:32

The ISU is in close contact with the Japanese Skating Federation (JSF). Based on a first on-site assessment by the JSF we have been informed that the Yoyogi stadium remains in order and the JSF advised that everything will be ready to hold the Championships as foreseen. We will of course continue to monitor the situation closely in cooperation with the JSF and inform of any developments.

Yuzuru Hanyu is from the area where the quake hit, but he, his coach and family were all reported ok.  Nikolai Morozov's skaters which include Miki Ando and Florent Amodio are already in Japan, but are also ok.  Volozhar and Trankov of Russian landed with their coaches a few hours before the quake but have been in contact with the Russian Federation.

The US State Department is advising no non-essential travel to Japan. 


  1. Ah, so glad Mao is safe!

    Thank you!

  2. - image from Florent's FB. The french translates as "Coming back asap, worlds is cancelled"