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MOSCOW, April 25 (ITAR-TASS) - The World Figure Skating Championship officially starts in the Russian capital on Monday.
It will be the third time Russia hosts such championship. Back in 1896, Russia's St. Petersburg hosted the first world men's singles championship. The championships were presumed all-male since competitive skating was generally viewed as a male sport. The 1905 Congress of the International Skating Union (ISU) established a second class ladies competition. Men's and Ladies events were normally held separately. The first ladies competition was in 1906. Early championships for both ladies and pairs were retrospectively given World Championship status in 1924. The 1930 championship in New York combined all three competitions into one event for the first time. Ice dancing entered the program officially in 1952. Russia's second time as a World Figure Skating Championship host was in 2005.
Initially, Tokyo was to host the World Figure Skating Championship in March 2011. However, ISU jointly with the championship organizing committee decided to move the competition to another country over a devastating earthquake and a killing tsunami in Japan. The Russian capital won the right to host the championship.
As many as 195 figure skaters from 44 countries will compete in the World Figure Skating Championship in Moscow.
President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation and an Olympic ice dance champion Alexander Gorshkov told Itar-Tass on the eve of a World Figure Skating Championship that the official trainings started on Sunday at the Megasport sport hall. "Certainly, the official trainings allow the figure skaters, who are to pass a qualification round, to try the ice. Over many applications the International Skating Union (ISU) decided to hold a qualification stage for the strongest figure skaters to qualify for a short program. The qualification stage has women's, men's and dancing duet's competitions this year. The pair skaters will begin to compete already from a short program. Some 22 skating pairs bid for this championship, but 20 skating pairs are to compete in a short program under the ISU regulations. However, ISU decided that another two skating pairs can be permitted to compete in the championship," he said.
Exhibition performance will be held on May 1.
The Russian national team includes Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov (pairs), Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Solovyov, Elena Ilyinykh and Nikita Katsalapov (ice dancing), Alena Leonova and Ksenia Makarova (ladies singles), and Artur Gachinsky (men's singles).
The United States tops the unofficial chart of cumulative medal count at the World Figure Skating Championships, having won 181 medals, including 51 gold medals, 56 silver medals, and 74 bronze medals. Russia/the USSR comes second with 180 medals, including 75 gold medals, 61 silver medals, and 44 bronze medals. Austria is third.
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