The International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final will begin on December 6th in the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi. The test event for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, staged by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee in partnership with the Russian Figure Skating Federation and with the support of the ISU, is the first international competition at the venue hosting the Olympic Figure Skating and Short Track Tournaments in 2014.
Over 500 members of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee team will be involved in the organization and staging of the test events in December 2012, which are providing a rigorous test of all the functions and services at the venue under Olympic level conditions. The Organizing Committee team includes well-known representatives from Russian figure skating and Olympic Speed Skating Champion Svetlana Bazhanova.
During the current winter season, a total of 119 figure skaters and pairs from 19 countries have competed in six stages of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The best figure skaters and pairs in each discipline have qualified for the Final in Sochi.
Russian Figure Skating will be represented in the singles event by the winner of the Youth Olympic Winter Games, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, and in the sports pairs by European Champions, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov, and the 2010 European Champions, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, who will be performing alongside the current Russian Champions, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Two-time Russian Champions, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviev and Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov will represent Russia in the ice dance events.
Many of the world’s leading figure skating stars will be competing at the Iceberg Skating Palace, including Vancouver 2010 Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada), two-time World champions Patrick Chan (Canada) and Mao Asada (Japan) and 2010 World Champion Daisuke Takahashi (Japan).
Sochi is also hosting the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final this week. Figure skaters and pairs from 58 countries have been participating in the series, with the best six figure skaters from each category now due to compete in the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final at the Iceberg Skating Palace. The Russian representation in the junior events is significant, accounting for almost half the athletes.
The ISU Grand Prix launches with the Opening Ceremony on December 6th. The main competition days are the 6th and 7th December for juniors, and 7th and 8th December for adults. An exciting figure skating exhibition gala will conclude the program on 9th December.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President and CEO:
"It is an honor for the Iceberg Skating Palace to be hosting a tournament of the status of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The world’s best figure skaters have come to Sochi to take part in the final stage of the Grand Prix series. Our ultra-modern ice palace, located right in the heart of the Olympic Park, will be the perfect backdrop for inspirational performances and brilliant victories."
Svetlana Bazhanova, Olympic Champion, Manager of the Iceberg Skating Palace:
"The staging of the ISU Grand Prix Final is an excellent opportunity for Sochi 2014 to fully test the venue, team and services that we plan to provide at the venue during the Games. It is important to test how coherently our team works and how effectively cooperation is organized with external parties, such as the international federation, contractors, investors, to ensure everything runs as well as possible in 2014."
Tatiana Navka, Olympic Champion and Sochi 2014 Ambassador:
"It was a true honor to be the first to skate on the ice at the Iceberg stadium on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Park in May. My first impression of the design of the stadium and the quality of the ice were overwhelmingly positive.
"Today, the very best figure skaters in the world will be able to assess this Olympic venue for themselves during the ISU Grand Prix Final. I really hope that I will be able to share by my champion luck and it will help our figure skaters to win prize places both in this tournament and at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games."
Notes to the editor
The Iceberg Skating Palace is a pre-fabricated venue, making it possible to be dismantled and transported for post-Games use as a skating center in another Russian city. The name of the venue is associated with the architectural shape of the building. During the Olympic Games, the Iceberg Skating palace will stage the short track and figure skating competitions. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (December 2012) and the ISU World Cup Short Track Stage (January-February 2013) will be the international test events at the venue.