Moscow wins bid to host World Championships after Japan earthquake

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The World Figure Skating Championships that were moved from Japan after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the country this month were given Thursday to Moscow, bringing an end to hopes that Colorado Springs would host the event for the first time in 36 years.

Worlds will be staged April 25-30 in the Russian capital — five weeks later than planned. The International Skating Union also considered bids from the Springs, Graz, Austria; Lake Placid, N.Y.; Turku, Finland; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Zagreb, Croatia.

An 11-person ISU council conducted "careful evaluation" of the candidates the past two days, and the advantages of Moscow over the Springs were numerous. Moscow's arena, which opened in 2006, seats about 12,100 people for figure skating, and the city has a ton of hotels and an international airport, whereas 13-year-old World Arena carries less than 8,000 for figure skating, and the two high-end hotels nearby combine for only 800 rooms.

It didn't matter if Moscow hosted worlds in 2005, while the Springs last hosted in 1975, at the now-demolished Broadmoor World Arena. Russia has guaranteed "easy access" to visas, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has assured that Russia can meet the demand of housing 199 skaters from 45 nations, vowing Tuesday "this is not a very expensive event, and we are capable of taking care of all the expenses," a bill that could reach $5 million.

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