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U.S. Figure Skating Picks Hartford For 2006 Event

May 4, 2005
By TOMMY HINE, Courant Staff Writer

Hartford has been selected as the host city for Skate America 2006, U.S. Figure Skating will announce at an afternoon press conference with city and state officials at the state Capitol today.

It would be the first international skating event in Connecticut's capital since the world championships were held at the Hartford Civic Center in 1981.

Hartford was selected over Cincinnati after a USFS delegation visited both finalists in late February.

Skate America is the first of seven Grand Prix figure skating events held by the International Skating Union every year, and it kicks off the competitive season. The four-day competition is held in October.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, House Speaker James A. Amann, Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez, William Mudano of the Connecticut Sports Management Group and Donna Graugard of the Skating Club of Hartford will participate in today's announcement.

The Skating Club of Hartford and the Connecticut Sports Management Group, which organized the Nutmeg State Games, the state Senior Games and the State Games of America, will be co-sponsors.

Not wanting to detract from the anticipation of today's press conference in the governor's office, a U.S. Figure Skating source was reluctant to make an on-the-record confirmation about Hartford's selection.

But asked if Hartford would hold a press conference to announce that Cincinnati, not Hartford, had been chosen, the source laughed and said, "No, it wouldn't."

The 2004 Skate America event was held in Pittsburgh; Atlantic City will host 2005 Skate America Oct. 20-23.

Angela Nikodinov of the United States and France's Brian Joubert, who trains at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury, won the individual titles in Pittsburgh. China's Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang won in pairs.

Skate America normally attracts 60 world-class skaters from about a dozen countries, the largest international field other than the world championships and the Olympics, which are in Turin, Italy, in February 2006.

Bob Dunlop, U.S. Figure Skating's assistant executive director for events and athletic resources, headed the delegation that visited Hartford on Feb. 27 and 28. Dunlop was traveling Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.

On its Hartford visit, the U.S. Figure Skating group attended the Stars on Ice show at the Civic Center, had breakfast with Perez, toured the renovated Hartford Hilton that reopened that week, met Rell in her office, toured the Civic Center and had lunch at Mayor Mike's with former Hartford Mayor Mike Peters.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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