Ashley Wagner 2015 USFS (copy) (copy)

Ashley Wagner bites her gold medal after winning the Ladies' singles title at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday:

GREENSBORO — U.S. Figure Skating will bring its national championships back to the Greensboro Coliseum for a third time.

But this time, the focus will be squarely on the nation’s elite skaters in a pared down yet bigger event.

The seven-day competition will be held Jan. 20-26, 2020, and will feature the country’s best men’s singles, women's singles, pairs and ice dancing skaters from U.S. Figure Skating’s top two skill levels, senior and junior.

Scimeca Knierim 2015 USFS (copy)

Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim successfully completed a quad twist to earn 136.48 points for their long program during the Pairs competition at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

In years past and through the upcoming 2019 nationals, novice, intermediate and juvenile skill levels were also included. Beginning in 2020, those younger skaters will get their own event, a private three-day skating camp in nearby Morrisville that starts the day Greensboro’s event ends.

“It’s a tip of the cap to us,” said Hill Carrow, chairman of Greensboro’s organizing committee. “We’re going to be the first to host it with the new format. They wouldn’t just take a chance with a community that hadn’t ever done it before. Other cities will be studying what we’re doing and use us as a model. That’s a testimony to Greensboro.”

Greensboro hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2011 and 2015, each time landing the big event the year after an Olympic Games and at the start of the next four-year cycle.

Now the city will be the first to host the event three times in a 10-year period since Colorado Springs held five of the first eight after World War II.

“It feels unprecedented,” Paul Wylie said. “When I was competing in the 1980s and '90s, nationals used to rotate among the three sections: Pacific Coast, Midwest and East Coast. No one city would get nationals so often.”

Shib sibs 2015 USFS (copy)

Ice Dancing silver medal winners Maia and Alex Shibutani skate during the free dance of the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Wylie, who won a silver medal at the 1992 Olympics, has lived near Charlotte for the last 13 years and coaches at a rink in Indian Trail. He’s part of the organizing committee for the third time and has seen figure skating’s growth in the Southeast.

“We have broken that barrier,” Wylie said. “Having the championships here in 2011 was a big wakeup (for U.S. Figure Skating). Because, look around, Charlotte, Greensboro, Wilmington, Raleigh, Durham all have very vibrant skating clubs and large skating communities. The sport is growing very well in this part of the country.”

The 2019 nationals will be in Detroit at Little Caesar’s Arena, and Greensboro will get the second year of the cycle leading up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics. That could mean a stronger field of Olympic contenders at the senior level.

“Things start to heat up,” Wylie said. “There’s jockeying for position that’s going on, for sure. Every year is important, but if you’re going to take a year off from competition — like Ashley Wagner did in 2011 — you’re going to take that year after the Olympics. If you’re serious about trying to get back to the Olympic Games, you will be here for this competition in 2020.”

Ticket packages for all events are on sale today at ncskate2020.com. Weekend ticket packages and individual tickets will go on sale in 2019.

Jason Brown 2015 USFS (copy)

Jason Brown acknowledges the applauding crowd after his performance in the Men's free skate during the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Greensboro’s 2011 and 2015 nationals drew visitors from all 50 states and five foreign countries, and Henri Fourrier, president of the Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau, estimated the economic impact of the 2015 event at $27 million.

“We are so thrilled to be able to do it again for a third time,” Greensboro mayor Nancy Vaughan said. “… It’s one of the most-watched sporting events in the country every year, and it will once again put Greensboro in the national spotlight. They don’t call us ‘Tournament Town’ for nothing.”

Figure skating’s return in 2020 begins a year that will also include three consecutive weeks of ACC women’s, ACC men’s and NCAA men’s basketball tournament games at the Coliseum.

U.S. Figure Skating’s first two championships at the Coliseum Complex were well-received by the skaters, coaches and judges because the main completion arena, practice rink and FanFest were all at the same site. The Coliseum’s Special Events Center housed a temporary ice rink the same size as the competition rink along with the FanFest area.

Typically, host cities must run shuttle services among the three events at different venues.

The 2011 event in Greensboro drew an announced total paid attendance of 110,787, and another 50,805 attended the free FanFest. Total attendance dipped slightly in 2015, although the women's free skate competition that featured rivals Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold drew 11,416, the largest single-session crowd from either year the Coliseum hosted.

“It has the potential to be an even stronger fan event. It’s always going to appeal to the hardcore fan. But now the person who enjoys figure skating but doesn’t necessarily know every skater involved, the person who loves the beauty and athleticism can expect to see that at a very high level. … It’s certainly going to allow us to be more targeted with our marketing and sales approach.”

The 2018 nationals in San Jose, Calif., drew 107,318 in the run-up to the PyeongChang Olympics.


Posted at 11:13 a.m. Tuesday

GREENSBORO — U.S. Figure Skating will bring its national championships back to the Greensboro Coliseum for a third time.

The six-day competition will be held in Jan. 20-26, 2020, and will feature the nation’s best men’s singles, women's singles, pairs and ice dancing skaters.

Greensboro hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2011 and 2015, each time landing the big event the year after an Olympic Games and at the start of the next four-year cycle.

Scimeca Knierim 2015 USFS (copy)

Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim successfully completed a quad twist to earn 136.48 points for their long program during the Pairs competition at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The 2019 nationals will be in Detroit at Little Caesar’s Arena, and Greensboro will get the second year of the cycle leading up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics. That could mean a stronger field of Olympic contenders at the senior level.

Ticket packages for all events are on sale today at ncskate2020.com. Weekend ticket packages and individual tickets will go on sale in 2019.

Hill Carrow, the chairman of Greensboro's organizing committee that landed the event in 2011 and 2015, led the lobbying effort for the 2020 nationals.

Typically, host sites are chosen at least two years in advance. But that changed during the last bid process, when U.S. Figure Skating chose Detroit a little more than one year in advance.

That change may have benefited Greensboro, which had already proven it could successfully host the event.

“The success we’ve had in North Carolina has been a big deal,” Carrow said this year. “That’s stood us in good stead. ... They have previous experience in Greensboro. They know us. They’ve had great experiences, and that helps.”

Shib sibs 2015 USFS (copy)

Ice Dancing silver medal winners Maia and Alex Shibutani skate during the free dance of the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Greensboro has a lot in its favor. The first two events at the Coliseum Complex were well-received by the skaters, coaches and judges because the main completion arena, practice rink and FanFest were all at the same site. The Coliseum’s Special Events Center housed a temporary ice rink the same size as the competition rink along with the FanFest area.

Typically, host cities must run shuttle services between the three events at different venues.

“The only other place that's been able to come close to our model was Omaha, and they didn’t quite accomplish it,” Carrow said. “They used a different facility (for FanFest), but had the practice rink in their convention center connected to their main arena. But we’re the only ones who have had all three under one roof.”

Jason Brown 2015 USFS (copy)

Jason Brown acknowledges the applauding crowd after his performance in the Men's free skate during the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The 2011 event in Greensboro drew an announced total attendance of 110,787. Total attendance dipped slightly in 2015, although the women's free skate competition that featured rivals Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold drew 11,416, the largest single-session crowd from either year the Coliseum hosted.

The 2018 nationals in San Jose, Calif., drew 107,318 in the run-up to the PyeongChang Olympics.

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Contact Jeff Mills at (336) 373-7024, and follow @JeffMillsNR on Twitter.

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