When those of us on the other side of the world woke up to the news that a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami had hit northern Japan, it was almost too much to absorb. I was riveted to my television for days. No matter how many times one saw the same images or videos, it was almost impossible to fully absorb the impact of what was happening.
When the International Skating Union announced that the 2011 World Championships would either be postponed or canceled, the news was received with mixed emotions.
For the skaters who had trained all season for this event, it would be a harsh blow if Worlds did not take place. On the flip side, as a number of skaters noted, it seemed almost disrespectful to skate amidst the tragedy.
Many skating nations stepped up to the plate and volunteered to hold the event, including the U.S. and Canada. The reassignment of the Championships to Russia was a balanced choice. With no major international events scheduled next season other than Cup of Russia, hosting the Championships provided the Olympic organizing committee with an opportunity to test out its preparations for the 2014 Winter Games.
The cover story this issue pays tribute to the Japanese people, who in the face of utter devastation conducted themselves with a rare dignity. So many skaters reached out to their friends and competitors in Japan with messages of heartfelt sympathy and good wishes.
We would normally run our Worlds coverage this issue, but as the event took place after we went to print, we will recap all the action in the next issue.
Originally published in June 2011