Spokane chosen for 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane chosen for 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

SPOKANE, Wash. - U.S. Figure Skating announced Monday the selection of Spokane as the host city for the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, scheduled for Jan. 14-24, 2010.

The event, held annually since 1914, is the nation's most prestigious figure skating event, with past winners including such skating luminaries as Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton. National champions will be crowned in 12 events: ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing in the senior, junior and novice levels.

"U.S. Figure Skating is extremely pleased to announce the city of Spokane as the site for the 2010 U.S. Championships," U.S. Figure Skating President Ron Hershberger said. "As the 2010 U.S. Championships will be the final event prior to nominating our athletes for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, it was extremely important to select an experienced and enthusiastic host for the event."

The U.S. Championships annually attract more than 1,500 figure skating athletes, coaches and officials to the host city. Spokane hosted the U.S. Championships in 2007, when the event experienced unprecedented success, including an all-time attendance record. The 2007 U.S. Championships received the prestigious honor of being recognized as the "Sports Event of the Year" and "Amateur Sporting Event of the Year" by SportsTravel magazine.

"There is huge support for this event from the city of Spokane that goes well beyond the figure skating community.  These factors, and the excellent facilities in Spokane, will provide an extraordinarily positive atmosphere for our athletes," Hershberger said. "The enthusiasm we experienced in 2007 certainly proved that Spokane can host a truly outstanding event."

"The fans were absolutely incredible in Spokane," reigning two-time U.S. champion Evan Lysacek said. "Everywhere we went, people were talking about skating - we felt like rock stars.''

NBC will provide more than 10 hours of live coverage of the event, including all senior-level finals, while the remainder of the competition will be shown on icenetwork.com.

The Spokane Arena, a 10,500-seat, multi-use facility that opened in 1995, will serve as the sole venue for the event. The arena has been the site for a number of major sporting events including 2002 Smart Ones Skate America, the 1996 U.S. Olympic wrestling trials and the 1998 Memorial Cup (the Canadian Hockey League's championship event).

The 2010 U.S. Championships will be managed locally by Star USA. Star USA spearheaded the effort that led to Spokane's hosting the 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which attracted a record crowd of 154,893. Star USA also hosted 2002 Skate America, which attracted a record attendance of 28,664 for the four-day event.

"We couldn't be prouder or more excited for our hometown," said Toby Steward, president of Star USA. "The world will be riveted to the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games, and the Pacific Northwest will be in the spotlight. Spokane will now have a direct connection to that excitement."

With the 2010 Olympic Games beginning in Vancouver soon after the completion of the 2010 U.S. Championships, the U.S. Championships event schedule has been adjusted to provide approximately a four-week training period from the end of each senior-level event to the start of the same event within the Olympic schedule. Therefore, all the senior events will be taking place over two weekends, with senior-level men's and pairs the first weekend, and senior-level ladies and ice dancing the second weekend.

All-event ticket packages for the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships will go on sale beginning Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the TicketsWest box office or by calling 1-800-325-SEAT and at www.spokane2010.com The all event ticket package will offer the buyer great seats for all of the sessions during the 11-day event.

Tune in to KHQ Local News at 5 and 6 and stay with KHQ.com for more information.

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