World figure skating championships canceled due to coronavirus, at least for now

Figure Skating World Championships Coronavirus
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The world figure skating championships, scheduled for next week in Montreal, will not be held due to the coronavirus.

“With the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Skate Canada and the International Skating Union (ISU), were informed today by the Government of Quebec that they have cancelled the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020,” Skate Canada said in an email statement. “Any fan who has purchased tickets directly from the official ticket provider Evenko will receive details on the refund process in due course.”

The ISU left open the possibility of scheduling world championships this fall.

“Considering the current uncertain developments surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, a rescheduling and/or relocation of the above-mentioned Championships within the current season, even if the season would be extended by several weeks after its normal end in early April, cannot be reasonably considered,” the ISU announced. “During the coming weeks, the ISU will evaluate in cooperation with all stakeholders whether the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020 could possibly be held later in the year, but in any case not before October 2020.”

Worlds were to feature a showdown between Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and two-time reigning world champion Nathan Chen and a potential Russian sweep of the women’s medals.

Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates were hopeful to earn their first ice dance medal in four years and challenge French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron for the title.

The world championships are held annually and the 2021 Worlds are scheduled for Stockholm next March.

Other major Olympic sports events to be postponed or canceled due to coronavirus concerns include world championships for women’s ice hockey, short track speed skating and indoor track and field. Also canceled: tennis’ fifth-biggest annual tournament the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif. and several Olympic qualifying events, including a 3×3 basketball event that was scheduled for next week in India.

The final weekend of the Alpine skiing women’s World Cup was canceled Wednesday, spoiling Mikaela Shiffrin‘s plans to return from a long absence and ending her three-year reign as champion.

Canada also is due to host the women’s world curling championships starting Saturday, but organizers are confident that event in British Columbia will be able to proceed, in part because athletes from the areas hit hardest by the coronavirus are either already in Canada or traveling outside their home countries.

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