The 2018 Grand Prix Series will have a different feel this season due to an unexpected and surprising occurrence: The news broke today that the Chinese Figure Skating Federation “is unable to host any events this season” and returned all its skating allotments to the International Skating Union.
China was scheduled to host a Junior Grand Prix event in Harbin, Sep. 19-22; Cup of China in early November, as well as two short track and speed skating competitions.
The Junior Grand Prix event was been moved to Vancouver, Canada, Sep. 12-15. China’s other annual event, Shanghai Trophy, scheduled to take place Sep. 29-Oct. 1, has also been cancelled. The third Grand Prix event will take place in Finland.
Though there is rampant speculation about the reason behind China relinquishing these competitions, the words “unable to host any events this season” speak to an internal situation.
JUNE 13 UPDATE FROM CHINA’S SINA NEWS:
After the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the Winter Olympics formally entered “Beijing time.” Some venues, including the Capital Stadium, which hosts the Grand Prix, need to be remodelled or otherwise used. The relevant person in charge said: “In order to prepare for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in 2022, all the venues originally scheduled to host the International Federation of Sports Federations, including the Capital Gymnasium, have not met the requirements of the ISU, due to stadium renovation or other reasons of the ISU. It was a pity that we had to deal with relevant events within the time, and after much coordination and effort, we could not solve them in the end.”
The article goes on to say that China needs to achieve a higher standard with respect to events it hosts. “A comprehensive assessment of some of the ISU competitions held in my country in recent years led us to believe that these events have not yet achieved the level expected by the ISU,” a representative said. “In communication with the ISU, we think that temporarily not hosting related events in the 2018-2019 season will allow us to have more time to perfect all aspects and present more exciting events in the future.”