2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America to be Held at ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. (Seattle)

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America fact sheet

(5/4/12) - U.S. Figure Skating announced today the selection of the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. (Seattle) as the host venue for 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America. The event, sponsored by Hilton HHonors, the loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide-s 10 distinct hotel brands, is the first of six stops in the International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Competition will take place Oct. 19-21, 2012. The DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport will serve as the official host hotel for the event.

"We look forward to returning to the state of Washington for Skate America," David Raith, executive director, U.S. Figure Skating, said. "Washington is home to some of the best and most supportive figure skating fans in the country and we look forward to showcasing this event to the Seattle area."

Skate America, an Olympic-style international figure skating competition held since 1979, returns to Washington for the third time in the event's history. It was held in Everett (Comcast Arena) in 2008 and Spokane (Spokane Arena) in '02. These two events rank first and second, respectively, in terms of Skate America's overall attendance. The U.S. Figure Skating Championships also have been held in Washington six times with great success. The 2007 and 2010 events in Spokane are the two highest-attended championships in history.

"We are excited to again welcome the international figure skating community and its fans to the state of Washington for 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America," Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire said. "In recent years, Washington has hosted record-setting crowds in Spokane and in Everett. The anticipated economic impact and international television exposure the event will bring to Kent and the greater Seattle area is exciting."

Skate America will feature three days of competition featuring 52 world-class figure skaters in ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing. Past Skate America gold medalists include five-time World champion and two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan and Olympic champions Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton and Evan Lysacek. The event also includes among its past champions Rosalynn Sumners of Edmonds, Wash. Sumners, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist and 1983 World champion, claimed Skate America gold in 1982 when the event was held in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Ice dancer Ben Agosto, who now lives and coaches in the Seattle area, will serve as the event's honorary chairperson. Agosto and partner Tanith Belbin won five U.S. titles, four World medals and the 2006 Olympic silver medal. They are also seven-time Skate America medalists. They won silver in Everett in 2008 and bronze in Spokane in 2002. The duo retired from competitive figure skating following the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The complete list of athletes invited to compete at the 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America will be announced May 21.

All-event ticket packages are on sale. Single-session tickets will go on sale in late summer. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.2012skateamerica.com or at the ShoWare Center box office.

Other stops on the 2012 Grand Prix Series include Skate Canada (Windsor, Ontario), Cup of China (Shanghai), Trophee Eric Bompard (Paris), Rostelecom Cup (Moscow) and NHK Trophy (Sendai, Japan). Skaters earn points throughout the Series to qualify for the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final each December. The 2012 Grand Prix Final will be held in Sochi, Russia, home of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

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