Skating Championships Take The Rink In Alternate City

Originally published on April 24, 2011 10:02 am
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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Sports columnist Christine Brennan of USA Today is in the studio. Good morning. Nice to see you again.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Great to see you, Liane.

HANSEN: So, what does the tragedy in Japan, the uncertainty over whether the Worlds would be cancelled, the month-long delay, mean for the competitors?

BRENNAN: They said, yeah, it's disruptive of my training and I don't know what I'm doing and I've got to start all over again for these five weeks but it's so miniscule compared to what's happening in Japan. And I think they are a shining example of sportsmanship and worthy of our attention because of how wonderful and magnanimous they were towards the people of Japan compared to their plight of having their practice disrupted.

HANSEN: Let's talk about the sports angle, specifically the return to competition of the 2010 Olympic gold medalist Yu-Na Kim of South Korea. What's she been doing? What are her chances at the Worlds?

BRENNAN: But here's she comes back - it's so rare to see someone take an entire year off and then come back at the biggest event of the year, the World Championships, and think you can win it. But if anyone can do that, Yu-Na Kim can in this year of all years.

HANSEN: And who are her rivals, her top rivals?

BRENNAN: A couple of Japanese skaters who are going to be, of course, sentimental favorites. Mao Asada, who is trying to win her second world title in a row. And if she does that, first time since Michelle Kwan in women's figure skating in the early part of the century. And Miki Ando. So, those two, I think, are the ones to watch. Asada won the silver medal at the Olympics behind Yu-Na Kim and I think would love to beat her again at the world championships.

HANSEN: American skater Evan Lysacek, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, will not compete in the men's event. He's doing red carpet, he's turned pro. He appears in ice shows, at benefits. So, who among the men is worth watching?

BRENNAN: And then Patrick Chan is five years younger than Takahashi. He is the two-time defending world silver medalist and went into the Olympics in Vancouver, in Canada, his home country, and did not perform well and I think he would love to finally get a world title. He's building to the 2014 Olympics. This could be the moment where he really breaks out.

HANSEN: USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. Thanks so much for coming in.

BRENNAN: Always a pleasure, Liane. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.