Rooting for Gold in Boston

Posted March 26, 2016 by Ross Wyszomierski in Downtown Boston
Local skater Gracie Gold. Photo Credit: Olga Besnard

This month, the TD Garden will showcase a different breed of skaters. Yes, the Bruins are well into the second half of the NHL season trying to capture a spot in the playoffs, but these skaters coming to the heart of Boston won’t have helmets or sticks, and won’t be chasing around a small piece of black rubber.

Instead of slap shots, one-timers and diving saves, spectators will see choreographed dances, pirouettes and triple Salchows as the 2016 ISU (International Skating Union) Figure Skating Championships glide into town.

Headlining the competition will be 20-year-old Massachusetts native Gracie Gold. The two-time United States National Champion secured her place in the competition by winning the ladies’ singles title in St. Paul, Minnesota at the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in January. Her come-from-behind win was due in large part to her nearly flawless free skate to selections from “The Firebird,” by Igor Stravinsky.

Gold, who was born in Newton, Massachusetts but trains in California, will return to Boston to try to end a nine-year medal drought for U.S. women at the World Championships.

From March 28 – April 3, the world will watch as Gold and the finest figure skaters from around the globe compete for the esteemed title of World Champion. Short of vying for an Olympic medal, this is the most important and prestigious annual competition of the entire season and for the first time in the ISU Figure Skating Championship’s 130-year history, the city of Boston will host the magnificent performances.

Each country can enter competitors into one of four categories: men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pairs and ice dancing. Some countries are permitted to enter more than one participant in a category if their skaters performed well at the previous year’s World Championships. These multiple entries from the same country will not only be contending for the World Champion title, but for representation of their country at future events.

Skaters that will take the stage include: European Champion Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia; World Champion Javier Fernández of Spain; World Champion pairs team Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada; 2014 Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan; United States National Champions and 2011 ice dancing world bronze medalists siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani; and three-time United States National Champion Ashley Wagner.

In an interview with the Boston Business Journal, Patrick Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, stated that the event could bring in more than $30 million for the local economy as an estimated 75,000 fans will look to the city for meals, entertainment and lodging, a boon for businesses like the newly opened Godfrey hotel or State Street Provisions.

Boston will join the likes of Tokyo, Paris and London in a very prominent list of cities that have hosted the World Championships.

The Skating Club of Boston, along with U.S. Figure Skating, placed the initial bid for the right to host the event. The Skating Club of Boston is a community of families, athletes and professionals united by their love of skating and commitment to excellence in all facets of the sport. With more than 700 members, the club offers public skating, public dance, beginner free skate, freestyle and ice dance sessions, along with competitive training programs to performers of all ages. For more information, visit www.scboston.org.

Both single session and all-event tickets for the championships are now available for purchase. Visit www.worlds2016.com for more information.