OLYMPIC skating legend Robin Cousins has praised Sheffield’s ice facilities for helping to attract the sport’s European championships back to the UK for the first time in 20 years.
Around 200 skaters from 40 countries, including many Olympians, will take part in the ISU European Figure Skating Championships, at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, next January 23 to 29.
The National Ice Skating Association (NISA) will also use the National Figure Skating Centre, at the adjacent iceSheffield, as the practice rink for competitors.
And Dancing on Ice judge Cousins believes the city will deliver a world-class event.
The European event is the third largest championship involving figure skaters, behind the world championships and the winter Olympics.
Men, ladies, pairs and dance couples will compete in front of crowds of 9,000 at the Motorpoint Arena from January 23-29, 2012.
Cousins, the 1980 Olympic and European Champion, three-time world medallist and four-time British national champion, is also NISA’s Vice President.
He said: “It’s been a long time since we had a major international championship event in the UK and here in Sheffield we have a lovely twin padded ice rink for training and of course the Motorpoint Arena, where I spent quite a lot of time for Dancing on Ice and to have a real skating event in there is fantastic.
“The rinks are great and always well supported. To have the rinks close together allows it to be an international standard that will allow a championship of European level to take place.
“I know the competitors taking part are very happy with the facilities – they are not too cold, the ice is good and all the rinks are within walking distance.”
He was speaking at an off-ice camp for NISA’s 20-strong national squad, which includes iceSheffield skaters Jason Thompson, Daniel King and Katie Powell.
He added: “I was really trying to give them as much information as I can about what it was like for me and what it was like coaching and choreographing so that they when they step onto the ice every day with their routines they can train to their best of their abilities.”
NISA, the national governing body responsible for the development of the sport throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, worked in partnership with Sheffield International Venues (SIV), Sheffield City Council’s Major Sports Event Unit, development agency Yorkshire Forward and UK Sport to put together a bid for the ISU European Figure Skating Championships.
A range of tickets are now on sale for the championship – including individual day tickets priced from £10.
To book call the ticket hotline on 0114 256 56 56, visit www.motorpointarena.co.uk or call in person at the Arena Box Office. For more information go to www.europeans2012.co.uk or visit NISA at www.iceskating.org.uk.
Listen to our audio report - including a chat with Robin Cousins MBE, at www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/sport