L.A. : home of champions
Warm-weather Los Angeles can legitimately call itself one of the centers of figure skating in the United States thanks to the numerous world-class competitors who have emerged from the area to triumph in national and international competitions. Consider that L.A. has been the hometown or training home to stars such as Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming (1968), five-time world champion Michelle Kwan (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003), 1977 and 1979 world champion Linda Fratianne, two-time world championships bronze medalist Tiffany Chin (1985, 1986), 2002 Olympic fourth-place finisher Sasha Cohen, world pairs gold medalists Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner and two-time world championships bronze medalists JoJo Starbuck and Ken Shelley.
The 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were held at Staples Center in Los Angeles and set records for attendance and enthusiasm as the U.S. Olympic team was selected for the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games. A record total of 125,345 attended the championships with the second largest crowd ever at a U.S. championships – 18,035 – for the ladies final.
Hosted by the All Year Figure Skating Club of Culver City and the Sports Council, the event also included the U.S. National Junior Championships, for which sessions were held at Staples Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
The U.S. national figure skating championships were previously held in Los Angeles in 1954, 1963 and 1972 prior to 2002; the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1991 had figure skating at The Forum.