2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships start in Spokane today - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships start in Spokane today

SPOKANE, Wash.-  After months of preparation, it's finally time: The 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships get underway at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. 

Over the next ten days more than 270 skaters compete for 12 championships. Some of them will leave the Lilac city with a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. 

Here's a rundown of today's schedule:

  • Starting at 8:50 Friday morning, it's the Junior Men's competition. 
  • At 1:30 Friday afternoon, the Championship Pairs Short Programs start. 
  • The Opening Ceremony takes place at 6:45 Friday night. 
  • At 7:30 Friday night the Championship Men take to the ice for their short program. 

In the U.S. skating community, the event is often referred to informally as "nationals". Skaters compete in three levels: senior, junior, and novice. 

Medals are awarded in four disciplines: ladies singles, men's singles, pairs, and ice dance. Medals are given out in four colors: gold (first), silver (second), bronze (third), and pewter (fourth). 

In addition to determining the United States champions, the event is used to determine the U.S. teams for the World Figure Skating Championships, World Junior Figure Skating Championships, the Four Continents Championships, and of course The Winter Olympics, in Vancouver this year.

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