By Terry Foster
Some of the top figure skaters in the world have used Detroit as a training ground for the Olympics.
It is only fitting that Detroit submitted a bid Thursday afternoon to host the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the new Red Wings Arena that is scheduled to open in 2017.
The junior and championship events will be held at the Detroit Events Center, which is the new arena under construction. Juvenile, intermediate and novice events will be held at The Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills.
The bid was placed by The Detroit Sports Commission, Olympia Entertainment and The Detroit Skating Club. It was hand delivered by Gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White to U.S. Figure Skating officials during the 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships which are being held at TD Garden in Boston.
U.S. Figure Skating will make an announcement this summer.
“Detroit is a mecca for ice sports and has been so for years,” Davis said in a statement. “I think a city that has given so much to the world of figure skating deserves to host such an important event in the sport. The competition would not only showcase the local skating clubs and their hard work and dedication to the sport, but would allow people across the country to see just how great this city is.”
Detroit last hosted the event in 1994 at Joe Louis Arena when Tonya Harding henchmen attacked gold medal favorite Nancy Kerrigan. Harding won the competition but was later disqualified for not preventing the attack. Kerrigan did not compete but was still allowed to go to the Olympics that year.
The event will bring in 1,500 athletes, coaches and officials and has generated between $20-$25 million in economic impact during recent competitions, according to U.S. Figure Skating..
The event will take place Jan 3-7 in 2018 and served as a qualifier for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“The entire metro Detroit region would benefit from the vast media coverage and significant direct spending the U.S.
Championships and its thousands of visitors would provide,” said Dave Beachnau, DSC executive director in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with our community partners through the bid process and securing Detroit’s place in this historic championship.”
White also praised the new arena and the Detroit area for being a mecca for figure skating.
“As one of the largest and most important centers of figure skating in America, Detroit will have the best infrastructure as well as the perfect atmosphere to host the most important U.S. Championships,” White said. “The event would also be a great way to show appreciation for the level of engagement the region has had to the world of skating over the past few decades, producing some of the top skaters and top results for Team USA.”