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Now is not the time for Tokyo to host a tournament

The time has come for the International Skating Union to make a courageous decision and do it for all the right reasons.

The time has come for the International Skating Union to make a courageous decision and do it for all the right reasons.


They should get on with the World championships in another country and do it as soon as possible.


Cancelling or postponing until October when Tokyo may or may not be ready should not be viable options.
The situation in Japan makes it impossible for Tokyo to host at present.


With all due respect, the priority of every Japanese authority should involve the safety of the people of that country. The focus should be on healing wounds, repairing the damage, feeding the thousands of homeless and beginning the process of reconstruction.


By respectfully moving the championships to a neutral site, the ISU would be acknowledging that figure skaters in Japan are adored, sometimes worshipped figures that may, if allowed to showcase their talent, play a small part in the recuperation of the national psyche during a time of crisis.


This should not be about logistics or whether or not the championships can turn a profit.


Instead this should be about sport playing the part it claims it can in the lives of ordinary people. Namely, that the gifted athletes become the embodiment of their proud nations and serve to inspire the masses with their uplifting performances.


Mao Asada, twice a World Champion, and her teammate Miki Ando who has also held the crown, along with the current men’s champion Daisuke Takahashi, are superstars in Japan. They are followed wherever they travel by a crush of media. Back home, their millions of disciples anxiously crave word of their successes.


In this case, the efforts of the Japanese skaters become, symbolically at least, crucial, as people all over Japan desperately need something to cheer for. In other words, if athletes really are role models then let the Japanese skaters fulfill their potential at the appointed hour.


The excuse that a venue, enough hotel rooms or volunteers cannot be found in a limited time is hogwash. In a time of crisis anything can be done. Where there’s a will there’s a way and if need be all the proceeds from ticket sales should be directed to the relief effort in Japan.


Figure skating has a chance to make a difference right now.


The ISU should respectfully get on with the world championships and demonstrate that sport still has clout beyond the bottom line.

 
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