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2021 World Championships in Stockholm


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8 hours ago, Melodie said:

And why is Worlds still a thing, pray tell? 

 

Because the ISU has proven it can do a bubble, and in a country with very tight measures. I guess you haven’t heard about the speed skating bubble in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. It worked perfectly well. 
And they’re doing the Challenge Cup next week, too.

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6 hours ago, Winnie_20 said:

Because the ISU has proven it can do a bubble, and in a country with very tight measures. I guess you haven’t heard about the speed skating bubble in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. It worked perfectly well. 
And they’re doing the Challenge Cup next week, too.

Yes, I have heard about it and I know that the measures introduced to the speed skating event were quite different. While It is proof that they can do sth right, the ISU can't provide at least the same protocols to the FS world championships in Stockholm. I feel legit concerned if the situation gets worse and the measures are not tightened. 

 

 

 

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The only Fed unconcerned is the RusFed because they don't care about their skaters.  They just did some ice show deal (that even Evgenia was involved with) and they were all cozied up and maskless. Which is even more reason for Worlds to be cancelled.

Why are they so reticent about setting up a proper quarantine protocol?  And, of course, the skaters form most countries will have to quarantine when they go home.

Insanity.

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3 hours ago, Melodie said:

Yes, I have heard about it and I know that the measures introduced to the speed skating event were quite different. While It is proof that they can do sth right, the ISU can't provide at least the same protocols to the FS world championships in Stockholm.

 

 

 

What’s so different about it? I’m genuinely curious. It seems to me it should actually be easier to provide safety at Worlds than at Heerenveen; for one thing, those skaters didn’t stay in a hotel adjacent to the arena, i.e. more risk at getting infected.

What’s so different that they cannot provide the same level of safety at Worlds?
 

And the CC is next week. Same idea, no hotel at the skating rink.  
But nobody seems too worried. 

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This is an excellent documentary by France 24 about the Swedish handling of Covid situation, an in-depth look.  It's frightening and I don't want our athletes exposed to this high risk environment during the Worlds! 

 

 

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On 2/20/2021 at 11:20 AM, Winnie_20 said:

What’s so different about it? I’m genuinely curious. It seems to me it should actually be easier to provide safety at Worlds than at Heerenveen; for one thing, those skaters didn’t stay in a hotel adjacent to the arena, i.e. more risk at getting infected.

What’s so different that they cannot provide the same level of safety at Worlds?
 

And the CC is next week. Same idea, no hotel at the skating rink.  
But nobody seems too worried. 

For one the organizers of the Speed Skating Championships released their Health Guidelines more than a month before the start of their events.

For the Figure Skating branch, until now no detailed health protocols. Though we still have one week until the deadline for feds to make a decision. Maybe they will still produce the health protocols before then.

They also asked participants to be at Heerenveen at least 5 days before their competition start.

For Figure Skating, they only ask skaters to arrive 2 days before first practices, and substitutes can even arrive the day before.

 

They have also modified the general COVID guidelines to include what seems to be a way for participants who test positive to still be allowed into the bubble.

I've checked the speed skating health guidelines and they don't have anything similar.

Suspicious to say the least..

 

 

And of course there has been the general attitude of ISU towards breach of COVID protocols,

especially the Russian GP event, where it was pretty much obvious they were not following the guidelines.

Does not really inspire confidence that they'll be enforcing any protocols this time.

 

All in all, the Figure Skating branch COVID protocols are suspect.

No details up to now. And those who will be enforcing it.. well they haven't really been inspiring trust that they'll implement the rules effectively.

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After reading the petition I feel like I have to let some things out even if it won't be popular.

 

As much as I question ISU and as much as I raise my eyebrows at how Sweden handle things I feel like it is too much to try to demand quarantine or cancel Worlds. I feel like it is a decision that it is not ours to make.

 

No doubt there will be skaters who may feel they have no other choice than to go to Sweden but at the same time there will be those who want to go there and compete (and get good results but it applies to everyone). I especially think of those who come from small federation countries or those who missed GP events or even the whole season. Who am I to try to demand that the competition they want to participate at should be canceled? After all I don't know how all skaters feel about all this and therefore I don't want to make conclusions. It is them who train very hard every day.

 

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Skaters, staff, teams, and volunteers must quarantine for at least fourteen days after arriving, before entering the bubble. The quarantine should adhere to the highest standards and recommendations of the CDC. After quarantine, skaters must be given ice time to regain conditioning before competing at such a high level.

 

The first thing I disagree with the petition is the quarantine. I think mandatory 14 day quarantine would not be possible before Worlds.

 

Not even the extra strict Australia required 14 days of complete quarantine for Australian Open (with the exception of some cases, but in general tennis players were allowed to go out and practice a few hours a day in the quarantine. And if they were allowed out for practice, it can't really be called quarantine anymore, can it?).

 

After 14 days in quarantine without any ice time and then a few days of practice wouldn't be enough to 'regain conditioning' for skaters. Precisely because competing at such a high level would require every day training. Without it the risk of injury would also be so high. Without practicing every day it is not realistic to hold a big competition like Worlds. 

 

I don't think any sporting event required 14 or even 10 days of quarantine in the past months either (correct me if I'm wrong). I had a look at some other sporting events, for example Handball Worlds in Egypt that ended in January - it's a contact sport but it still didn't require quarantine (see the regulation here). Or the International Ski Federation's guideline is so lax that not even mask wearing is mandatory, not to mention quarantines (see page 29). More Worlds in winter sports will be organized in the next weeks so I'll check other sports as well. 

 

I also had to check what CDC is. Apparently it is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is a national health institution in the United States. If it is the case, then an American institution has no jurisdiction on a competition organised in Sweden. If they referred to WHO's standards and recommendations, that would be more clear.

 

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Postpone the event until after all involved (skaters, teams, staff, volunteers) are vaccinated 

 

This is not realistic either. No one knows how long would it take for everyone who wants to get vaccinated. Each country has completely different procedures. Bejing 2022 will be soon, so postponing to an indifferent date is just not possible. Athletes also need to get into top shape and prepare for Worlds, it takes planning and time.

Another thing is that not everyone wants to get vaccinated, so if someone doesn't want to, they can't enforce it.

 

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Finally, ISU must hear our claims and truly prioritize everybody’s (athletes, teams, staff, volunteers) safety and health. We saw ISU not sanction Russian Skating Federation for the multiple competitions they have held with lax COVID regulations (like an athlete competing with a fever and with the aid of smelling salts). We saw the US Nationals proceed with skaters from a team whose coach and teammate tested positive less than two weeks before the event. We saw skaters huddle together for photos, without masks, at 2020 NHK Trophy and the Japanese National Championships. Grand Prix event IdF was cancelled with only a week to go. Worlds 2020 in Montreal was only cancelled when local authorities stepped in, and not at ISU’s own initiative.

 

I think national and domestic run GP events are mixed up here. I don't think ISU can do anything against a National event, however the ISU Guidelines of Covid-19 for the GP events were applied (and yes, ISU didn't do anything about Rostelecom Cup or NHK, at least not that I know of).

 

(a bit OT but if Montreal Worlds had been canceled by ISU the legal consequences would have been different than in the case of canceling by local authorities. The former would've been the liability of ISU the latter is basically vis maior.)

 

Some good thing is that there *are* sanctions in the ISU guidelines, they look pretty strict too:

 

Quote

If any member of the OC or any other Event Attendee does not follow these Guidelines, their accreditation card will be removed by the ISU Event Coordinator or the OC, they will be required to leave the venue immediately. In addition, violations of these Guidelines are subject to disciplinary proceedings and sanctions according to Article 25 ISU Constitution.

 

 Article 25 of the Constitution is about the decisions of disciplinary commission:

 

Quote

a warning;

a financial penalty not exceeding 15,000 Swiss Francs;

suspension of participation in any specific ISU activity or of all ISU activities for a definite period;

exclusion for life from specific ISU activity or from all ISU activities;

annulment of results, including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes obtained in competitions at which the Alleged Offender committed the Offense.

 

I can only pray and hope that ISU will be stricter at Worlds, than the organizers were at events like Rostelecom or NHK, but if not, then that there will be consequences. Many people will watch it around the world and it'd embarrass the whole organisation if many people wouldn't follow the guidelines but there wouldn't be any consequences. I find it also possible that some federations may report to the ISU if another federation's member break any rule. 

 

Quote

ISU must provide an alternate way to get Olympic spots so skaters can withdraw with fewer consequences. 

 

This is a good point and I hope ISU will provide other solutions for skaters to get Olympic spots but sadly they'll probably make such decisions only after Worlds, not before it.

 

*

 

Now it looks like ISU will hold Worlds and I doubt the Swedish authorities will cancel it either. ISU has at least some experience now how to organize a bigger event because the speed skating World Cup and World Championships have already happened a few weeks ago in The Netherlands and it seems things were ok there. Honestly I don't think it makes a big difference if skaters arrive 2 or 5 days before the event. They'll be tested and if everyone will follow the guidelines then the risks will be lower. The lucky thing is that figure skating isn't a contact sport like many others so it also lowers all risks.

 

The update of the new general ISU Covid-19 guidelines look quite positive to me:

 

  • Mixed zones, press conferences, meetings, and interviews will be virtual (I think it's a very good decision).
  • Masks must worn everywhere including the kiss and cry, green room, during press conferences, and the medal ceremonies
  • During medal ceremony, skaters will have to get medals.
  • Air purifiers in dressing rooms & warm-up area, amongst other place. Sanitization of physical therapy rooms

 

Hopefully they will publish the detailed Health Guidelines for Sweden soon too, after all there is only one month left. 

 

I just hope for the best and that if Worlds take place, they will organize it well and all skaters remain healthy.

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My problem with petition is that there is what? 4 weeks until worlds? And collecting signs always takes time. And then submitting to ISU. Then ISU discussing it. There is no time for this.

So I just hope that worlds will be cancelled, even if just few days before, like last year.

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Posting this all over - if the ISU is really interested in having Worlds and having it be safe, they could move it, right now, to Australia.  They just hosted the Australian Open Tennis Tournament (with players from multiple countries).  They even had spectators.  A 14-day quarantine is enforced.  Why Sweden?  Move it someplace safe.

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3 hours ago, sallycinnamon said:

After reading the petition I feel like I have to let some things out even if it won't be popular.

 

As much as I question ISU and as much as I raise my eyebrows at how Sweden handle things I feel like it is too much to try to demand quarantine or cancel Worlds. I feel like it is a decision that it is not ours to make.

 

No doubt there will be skaters who may feel they have no other choice than to go to Sweden but at the same time there will be those who want to go there and compete (and get good results but it applies to everyone). I especially think of those who come from small federation countries or those who missed GP events or even the whole season. Who am I to try to demand that the competition they want to participate at should be canceled? After all I don't know how all skaters feel about all this and therefore I don't want to make conclusions. It is them who train very hard every day.

 

 

The first thing I disagree with the petition is the quarantine. I think mandatory 14 day quarantine would not be possible before Worlds.

 

Not even the extra strict Australia required 14 days of complete quarantine for Australian Open (with the exception of some cases, but in general tennis players were allowed to go out and practice a few hours a day in the quarantine. And if they were allowed out for practice, it can't really be called quarantine anymore, can it?).

 

After 14 days in quarantine without any ice time and then a few days of practice wouldn't be enough to 'regain conditioning' for skaters. Precisely because competing at such a high level would require every day training. Without it the risk of injury would also be so high. Without practicing every day it is not realistic to hold a big competition like Worlds. 

 

I don't think any sporting event required 14 or even 10 days of quarantine in the past months either (correct me if I'm wrong). I had a look at some other sporting events, for example Handball Worlds in Egypt that ended in January - it's a contact sport but it still didn't require quarantine (see the regulation here). Or the International Ski Federation's guideline is so lax that not even mask wearing is mandatory, not to mention quarantines (see page 29). More Worlds in winter sports will be organized in the next weeks so I'll check other sports as well. 

 

I also had to check what CDC is. Apparently it is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is a national health institution in the United States. If it is the case, then an American institution has no jurisdiction on a competition organised in Sweden. If they referred to WHO's standards and recommendations, that would be more clear.

 

 

This is not realistic either. No one knows how long would it take for everyone who wants to get vaccinated. Each country has completely different procedures. Bejing 2022 will be soon, so postponing to an indifferent date is just not possible. Athletes also need to get into top shape and prepare for Worlds, it takes planning and time.

Another thing is that not everyone wants to get vaccinated, so if someone doesn't want to, they can't enforce it.

 

 

I think national and domestic run GP events are mixed up here. I don't think ISU can do anything against a National event, however the ISU Guidelines of Covid-19 for the GP events were applied (and yes, ISU didn't do anything about Rostelecom Cup or NHK, at least not that I know of).

 

(a bit OT but if Montreal Worlds had been canceled by ISU the legal consequences would have been different than in the case of canceling by local authorities. The former would've been the liability of ISU the latter is basically vis maior.)

 

Some good thing is that there *are* sanctions in the ISU guidelines, they look pretty strict too:

 

 

 Article 25 of the Constitution is about the decisions of disciplinary commission:

 

 

I can only pray and hope that ISU will be stricter at Worlds, than the organizers were at events like Rostelecom or NHK, but if not, then that there will be consequences. Many people will watch it around the world and it'd embarrass the whole organisation if many people wouldn't follow the guidelines but there wouldn't be any consequences. I find it also possible that some federations may report to the ISU if another federation's member break any rule. 

 

 

This is a good point and I hope ISU will provide other solutions for skaters to get Olympic spots but sadly they'll probably make such decisions only after Worlds, not before it.

 

*

 

Now it looks like ISU will hold Worlds and I doubt the Swedish authorities will cancel it either. ISU has at least some experience now how to organize a bigger event because the speed skating World Cup and World Championships have already happened a few weeks ago in The Netherlands and it seems things were ok there. Honestly I don't think it makes a big difference if skaters arrive 2 or 5 days before the event. They'll be tested and if everyone will follow the guidelines then the risks will be lower. The lucky thing is that figure skating isn't a contact sport like many others so it also lowers all risks.

 

The update of the new general ISU Covid-19 guidelines look quite positive to me:

 

  • Mixed zones, press conferences, meetings, and interviews will be virtual (I think it's a very good decision).
  • Masks must worn everywhere including the kiss and cry, green room, during press conferences, and the medal ceremonies
  • During medal ceremony, skaters will have to get medals.
  • Air purifiers in dressing rooms & warm-up area, amongst other place. Sanitization of physical therapy rooms

 

Hopefully they will publish the detailed Health Guidelines for Sweden soon too, after all there is only one month left. 

 

I just hope for the best and that if Worlds take place, they will organize it well and all skaters remain healthy.

I very much agree. An alternate event or two, would allow those who hope an Olympic spot to participate even if they don't want to go to Worlds, whatever the reason. It could not replace Worlds, the numbers are not the same, but it could complete in the present complex situation. The participation to Worlds would not be forced upon reluctant skaters, who would be at risk, be it only because of their anxiety (which lowers immunity).

 

Also, I should like very much tests all along the event, not just before and after arrival.

And to answer here to a question posed by @rockstaryuzu in another thread, I think the proposed solution not to exclude too many Russian athletes (who are mostly victims, not guilty, of RusFed thoughtlessness until very recently, and there's Estonian skater Eva-Lotta Kiibus among the victims) would be both safe and fair if there was a number of cycles in the PCR tests, under which, if positive at this stage, a skater would be anyway excluded for the safety of others.

Because it is true that some skaters who had CoViD 19 remain positive if a high number of cycles is done, without being contaminant; but there are also cases of lingering infection and of new contamination, and then, the skater may well be contaminant for others. For instance (I am not a specialist at all) I understand that if the virus is found after less than 20 cycles, a lingering/new infection is likely, and people in contact are at risk of catching the infection. While if found after more than 30 cycles, it is very unlikely (or impossible after more than 35 cycles). I should like if specialists were consulted to establish rational thresholds, on clinically established bases, though these may differ between "classical" and "new" variants (more contagious). Please correct me if I am wrong.

But how to express such suggestions after the flow of violence of some petitions? And as a fanyu, thinking Yuzuru Hanyu is one of the wisest and most responsible persons in this world, I wouldn't want to embarrass him. First of all I don't know what he thinks, what he wishes. It is so important for me.

Also, being European, I see that Netherlands have been faring very badly at Spring, and once again lately, much worse than Sweden; and that the different policies of the different European countries are very often misrepresented in media, leading to anxiety.

https://euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

(These are official numbers, with the same method of calculation, from an official European epidemiology institution; only the last week accuracy differs between countries, depending on the speed of gathering information.)

About the new numbers in contamination, Sweden don't communicate (as far as I know) the number of people tested, or the rate of positivity. It has been said officially nevertheless, that the main recent cluster was on a mega-factory building site in the North of the country. And, "as usual", in care homes because Western countries care homes management has been a disaster our descendants may well remember.

It must be said that numbers in every European country have been much higher than in Japan for instance, and skaters are coming from all over the World, so the safety measures @sallycinnamon has listed are even more important to follow strictly than for Japanese competitions. I really hope they will be enforced, but I feel no reason to fear Skate Sweden and Swedish authorities will be negligent, and confident that if Yuzuru Hanyu should feel uncomfortable on CoViD safety grounds, he would let it know in a way or another (not necessarily publicly), and if unaddressed, withdraw. Then I would fear for other skaters health, because he is so wise, so sensible and so clever.

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I don't think a quarantine of 14 days is possible but any amount of quarantine, like even 3-4 days is enough to drastically reduce the false negative rate of testing I think. I think any additional day of quarantine exponentially reduces the false negative rate. 

3 hours ago, SitTwizzle said:

if Yuzuru Hanyu should feel uncomfortable on CoViD safety grounds, he would let it know in a way or another (not necessarily publicly), and if unaddressed, withdraw.

of course he feels uncomfortable, and of course he will not withdraw.

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On quarantine, badminton had a tournament in Thailand (in Jan 2021) that required 7 day quarantine.

 

Requirement were :

1) Test negative upon entry.

2) Quarantine around 7 days. Test again after quarantine.

3) Test every 3 to 4 days throughout the tournament.

4) They had protocols for training in a bubble all that.

5) One member test positive, whole team (in this case mean all of that country's players, coaches, officials) quarantine 10 days. After protest, rule relaxed to player who test negative can compete, alone without coach.

 

The positive tests came AFTER the 7 days, just before tournament started. Remember, they had to test negative before they can enter the host country, Thailand.

Team India had their top woman singles player test positive. Later on, one of the men singles from India also tested positive. + 2 more from other countries.

 

So, in my view, no matter what the protocols are, regular testing is important. Cos its indoor in a closed environment. 

Such situations was how workplace infections happened in my country. Wearing mask at all times, using hand sanitizer religiously,no touching, social distancing among co workers. All of this and yet people still got infected from co workers. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, yuzuangel said:

but any amount of quarantine, like even 3-4 days is enough

To this point: the Canadian government, based on latest data has instituted a mandatory but short, 4-day quarantine for all travellers arriving in Canada - and this is after they provide a negative COVID test in order to board the aircraft.  I think this would work for Worlds. It's enough to ensure that if the skater had a false negative, any symptoms will become apparent before they joined the rest of the athlete population. 

 

and I also agree with @sallycinnamon's points too. I think it's great to express our concern for the athletes since the ISU hasn't shown any, and I also think that perhaps demanding a 14-day quarantine is a little much.  I still don't agree with allowing any actively COVID-positive athlete to either compete or enter the bubble at Worlds, and I think that they need to take things like traffic flow through the arena (for skaters and officials) seriously so as to maintain social distancing. And providing proper ventilation of all athlete spaces is a must. And masking, and sanitizing, and contact tracing,etc. 

 

It would be even better if ISU Figure dropped the idea of using this Worlds as the Olympic qualifier, and instead looked towards the fall for that. By September, vaccination will be widespread and the infection rate should be ebbing (God willing!), and things like the GP series could be considered, or a one-time special competition/evaluation could take place.

 

Because really, the #1 problem with this Worlds is that countries are being forced to participate by making the Olympic spots contigent on Worlds results. Change that, and the whole problem goes away. 

 

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