U.S. Figure Skating Selected to Host 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Los Angeles, Calif.

The Los Angeles skyline at night

(9/19/06) - The International Skating Union (ISU) announced today the selection of U.S. Figure Skating and the city of Los Angeles, Calif., as the hosts for the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The competition will be hosted by U.S. Figure Skating in partnership with AEG and will take place March 23-29, 2009, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

"U.S. Figure Skating is thrilled to be selected as the host for the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships to be held in Los Angeles," U.S. Figure Skating President Ron Hershberger said. "The 2009 World Championships will be the most important international figure skating event of that year, since the placements at those championships determine the number of skaters each country can send to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. We know that the World Championships will create quite a buzz and sense of excitement. Los Angeles and STAPLES Center were marvelous hosts of our 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and the community is one that truly embraces the sport of figure skating."

Los Angeles hosted the 2002 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which helped determine the athletes for the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team. The 2002 U.S. Championships holds the all-time attendance record in event history, attracting more than 125,000 fans during the weeklong event. The state of California last hosted the World Figure Skating Championships when Oakland hosted the event in 1992.

U.S. Figure Skating last hosted the World Championships in 2003 in Washington D.C., with more than 105,000 fans attending the week-long event. Los Angeles in 2009 will mark the 12th time U.S. Figure Skating will host a World Figure Skating Championships. At 12, the United States is second to only Germany, which has hosted the event the most times of any country at 13. See full list of U.S. events below.

"We are delighted and proud that STAPLES Center and the city of Los Angeles will host the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships," AEG senior vice president of facilities Dana Warg said. "Los Angeles has a noted history of supporting and appreciating great figure skating competitions as well as national and international sporting events, and I know that the excitement generated by the 2009 championships will capture the focus and enthusiasm of the entire region."

The World Championships is the most prestigious figure skating event held annually, crowning World champions in ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing. The event consistently hosts more than 175 skaters from more than 60 countries. The 2009 event marks the 99th year of the event, which has been held annually since 1896 (with the exception of times of World Wars).

"I think this is so exciting," 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen said. "STAPLES Center is a great venue, and it's great to bring skating prominently into L.A. right before the 2010 Olympics. This will really get the excitement for skating up, and I'm sure there will be a huge turnout. There are so many great skaters coming from the L.A. area, so I think the community will really embrace the event. Plus, it's always great to get a Worlds in our own country, especially right before the Olympics - it will make the event just that much more huge."

In pre-Olympic years, such as 2009 preceding the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the World Championships serve as a qualifier for the number of spots each country receives for competitors at the following Olympics. Placements at the 2005 World Championships afforded the U.S. Team 16 spots at the 2006 Olympics: three in ladies, three in men, two in pairs and three in ice dancing. Each country can have a maximum of three spots in each discipline.

"Los Angeles has an impressive history of hosting first-rate skating competitions, including the very successful pre-Olympic 2002 U.S. Championships," U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith said. "The area also has an incredible concentration of top level skaters, including many of our current Olympians and countless up-and-comers. The city is a great destination for fans from across the globe to come enjoy the many draws of LA and the best skating in the world. U.S. Figure Skating and its partners will work closely with the ISU to help stage the best World Championships possible."

Past World Championships have included qualifying rounds in the ladies and men's events. At the 2006 ISU Congress in Budapest, Hungary, delegates approved a motion to cancel the qualifying free skate round at all ISU championships, making the events shorter, more appealing to the public and cost effective. This rule means that the 2009 World Championships will include nine events: short programs and free skates in ladies, men's and pairs, as well as the compulsory dance, original dance and free dance.

"On behalf of AEG and STAPLES Center, we would like to thank and congratulate U.S. Figure Skating for landing this prestigious event and pledge to make it the most successful and entertaining ever," said Lee Zeidman, General Manager, STAPLES Center. "The 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championships is still one of the most exciting events our arena has ever hosted and one that has set the standard for events of this stature. Our staff is truly looking forward to making the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships even more memorable."

All competition and some official practices will take place at STAPLES Center. The adjacent Los Angeles Convention Center will host official practices as well as other pre-event functions. Ticket package information will be released at a later date.

"I'm so pumped to compete for the World title in my adopted hometown of L.A.," two-time World bronze medalist Evan Lysacek said. "I know they will do a wonderful job hosting the event. The excitement and electricity of L.A. is unmatched, so holding a prestigious event like the World Championships here will be a walk in the park. No place can throw a party like L.A.!"

World Figure Skating Championships held in the United States

2009 - Los Angeles, Calif.
2003 - Washington D.C.
1998 - Minneapolis, Minn.
1992 - Oakland, Calif.
1987 - Cincinnati, Ohio
1981 - Hartford, Conn.
1975 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
1969 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
1965 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
1959 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
1957 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
1930 - New York, N.Y.