Four Continents skating set for Europe debut in Estonia

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Four Continents Championships for figure skaters from outside Europe will be held in Europe for the first time after Estonia stepped in as a replacement host for China, the International Skating Union said on Monday.

The competition is scheduled to run from Jan. 18-23 in the Estonian capital, Tallinn. That’s directly after the same venue hosts the European Championships. The ISU said it looked for backup hosts outside Europe but “no applications were received.”

The championships — named for the skaters’ origins in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia — were originally meant to be in the Chinese city of Tianjin as a warmup for the Olympics in Beijing the following month.

Tianjin dropped out last month, with the ISU citing the travel restrictions and quarantine rules in place during the coronavirus pandemic. The Olympics are operating under a so-called “closed-loop management system” developed by the Chinese authorities for the Games and which functions differently to other sports events.

The Four Continents hasn’t been held since the pandemic began. This year’s competition was due to be in Australia but was canceled because of the pandemic.

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