BY ALDO AMATO
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Twenty-five years after it became the first sporting event to take place inside Bridgestone Arena, the TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships are set to return to the Music City in 2022.
The Nashville Sports Council, U.S. Figure Skating, City of Nashville and Bridgestone Arena announced the selection during a press conference Wednesday at the Ford Ice Center in Bellevue.
The 2022 Championships will serve as the final qualifying event prior to the nomination of the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.
“Nashville is once again excited to host the U.S. Figure Skating Championships,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said on Wednesday. “The 2022 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships will be held on the 25th anniversary of the 1997 U.S. Figure Skating Championship, which was the first sporting event in the Bridgestone Arena.
“This national competition highlights the city’s growing ice skating culture that includes the Nashville Predators and Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton’s Skating Academy.”
The last time the Championships were in Nashville, 14-year-old Tara Lipinski introduced herself to the world becoming the youngest Ladies Champion ever beating out past champions Michelle Kwan and Nicole Bobek.
“We’re excited to host the U.S. Championships on the 25th anniversary since it was last in Nashville, especially in an Olympic year,” Scott Ramsey, president & CEO of the Nashville Sports Council, said. “Thanks to the support from the City of Nashville, the Nashville Predators, the Convention and Visitors Corporation and Olympic gold medalist and Nashvillian Scott Hamilton we are confident that we will showcase Nashville’s passion for skating on a national stage.
“We look forward to hosting the best American skaters as they not only strive to win a U.S. Championship, but to secure a spot on the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.”
U.S. Figure Skating President Anne Cammett praised Nashville’s skating community and said its growth has coincided with the city’s overall growth in the past two decades.
“Nashville is one of our country’s most vibrant sports and entertainment destinations, making the city a great backdrop for us to nominate our 2022 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team,” Cammett said. “Home to Scott Hamilton’s Skating Academy, the skating community in Nashville is strong and growing rapidly each year.
“We look forward to being a part of that growth and with all of the local support we have seen so far in the selection process we are excited for the Championships to return to Nashville for the first time in 25 years.”
Olympic champion Scott Hamilton, a Brentwood resident, has played a major part in the growth of Nashville’s skating community. Hamilton said having the Championships return to Nashville is just another indicator that the city is tailor-made for these types of events.
“Nashville hosting the U.S. Figure Skating Championships to choose our Olympic team is beyond logic,” Hamilton said. ”It’s necessary to celebrate these athletes as they go to represent the United States in the Olympics to have the proper sendoff.
“No one does ‘big events’ better than the city of Nashville, Tennessee. And it also seems appropriate that we are hosting this event on the 25th anniversary of the first major event held at what is now Bridgestone Arena. This will be a celebration like no other.”
Hamilton will be the featured speaker during the Nashville Sports Council’s next member rally presented by Cooper Steel on Nov. 12 at the Noelle Hotel. For more information about that event and upcoming sporting events in Nashville, please visit NashvilleSports.com.