by Alexandra Stevenson
A record 212 skaters from 53 countries are participating in this event, which was last held in this venue in 2004 when the roof burned down some days after the event concluded. The ensuing repairs have improved the facility, but the practice rink, next door, was covered only by a tent and is inside the outdoors speed skating oval which was temporarily out of action. De Uithof is a sporting complex with a seven-story ski slope, a climbing wall, and extensive eating and drinking facilities.
The Netherlands are known for their history of success in speed skating. In this Olympic Games, they won three gold and three other medals. But their figure skaters failed to qualify.
Russia may be hurting at senior level but they proved they have a lot of talent in the pipeline. They were the most successful nation in The Hague in the World Junior Championships. They earned five medals: Dance gold and all four bronzes. Japan grasped both singlesí titles and silver in Pairs. China earned gold in the Pairs and silver in the Men's event.
Canada got silver in Dance. The US, normally a power house at least in the Ladies division, earned only one medal, a silver medal in the Ladies event. That was a disappointing result especially since Maia & Alex Shibutani were shut out of the dance medals after earning silver last year.
Re. the illegal Chinese pair. According to confidential sources the illegal pair will be removed from the results list and those below them advanced a place, but this does not appear to have happened yet (14 Mar. 2010). Maybe this will be done when all the staff return home from this championship.
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