The host cities for the bids from Croatia and Austria are not known at this time, but ISU president Cinquanta was quoted by the AP saying the Croatia offer is likely Zagreb, while Graz is believed to be Austria's offer.
The ISU council is expected to vote Wednesday or Thursday on the site and determine the dates in late April or early May, the timeframe required by the ISU when it solicited proposals. The ISU Council has 11 members, five from speed skating, five from figure skating, and the ISU president, who only will vote the case of a tie.
Russia was thought to be the leading candidate, even before Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke in favor of the bid Tuesday, saying "this is not a very expensive event and we are capable of taking care of all the expenses." Russia last hosted worlds in 2005 at the Luzhniki sports complex in central Moscow, but the most likely venue for the championships would be the Megasport arena, which opened in December of 2006 and has a seating capacity of 12,126 for hockey. The arena is located a few miles north of the city center.
It was speculated that the bid from Finland would be for Helsinki, but instead is for Turku, the fifth largest city in Finland in terms of population. Turku is the oldest city in Finland, founded in the late 13th century and is located on the southwest coast of Finland on the Baltic sea.
U.S. Figure skating has offered to host the championships in either Colorado Springs or Lake Placid. Colorado Springs has been the site of several Skate Americas and Four Continent Championships. Lake Placid was the site of the 2009 Skate America competition and the site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. These sites appear to have been offered primarily because of proximity to USOC training centers where inexpensive dormitory-type accommodations are available to control costs. Neither arena has the 8,000 seat capacity that the ISU requested in its solicitation for bids.
The Skate Canada bid is for Vancouver, the site of the
2010 Olympic Winter Games. In describing the Skate Canada bid, Skate
Canada CEO WIlliam Thompson said, "We were
frankly overwhelmed by the support of many of the cities and arenas in
Little is known of the Croatian and Austrian bids at this time. Both cities have been the sites of smaller competitions, and are not likely to be serious contenders. The front runners appear to be Finland and Russia.
Given the support of the Russian government at the highest level, though, best start researching your travel options to Moscow.
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Copyright 2011 by George S. Rossano