Nashville, Tenn. (October 17, 2017) - Ford Ice Center, in partnership with the Scott Hamilton Skating Club, will host the U.S. Figure Skating Eastern Great Lakes Regional Championships this week, with qualifying events scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 8 a.m. CT.
Additionally, Olympic champion and longtime Franklin, Tennessee, resident Scott Hamilton and his 1984 Winter Olympics Gold Medal will be at Ford Ice Center on Friday, Oct. 20. Fans will be able to take photos with Hamilton and his gold medal from 12-1 and 2-3 p.m. CT in the main lobby for a $10 donation to the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation. Hamilton will be available to the media at Ford Ice Center on Friday at 1 p.m. CT.
"I'm so proud of the dedication of our skating club in its preparation to host skaters from all over our region in the first qualifying competition of the 2018 Olympic year," said Hamilton, who in addition to his Olympic title won four consecutive World Championships from 1981-84. "I know it will be a memorable time for the skaters, officials, skating club, organizing committee and the staff of the Ford Ice Center."
A total of 443 skaters from eight different states - Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Louisiana - will compete in the event, including 16 from the Scott Hamilton Skating Club, which operates out of Ford Ice Center.
The championships are headlined by the senior ladies short program on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and the senior ladies freestyle on Friday at 7:20 p.m. On the men's side, the novice freestyle competition - which helped launch Hamilton's career - will take place on Friday at 3 p.m.
"U.S. Figure Skating is excited to have the 2018 Eastern Great Lake Regional Championships in the city of Nashville," U.S. Figure Skating President Sam Auxier said. "We are excited for the competitors, their families and the officials to experience warm, Southern hospitality and see that Nashville is truly a great skating town."
The event is considered the first stop on the road to qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with the top skaters from the Eastern Great Lakes region competing to advance to the sectional championships in November. It will be the first major U.S. Figure Skating competition ever held at Ford Ice Center and the first one in Tennessee since the 2011 edition of the Eastern Great Lakes Regional was hosted in Franklin.
"We are honored to welcome U.S. Figure Skating this week and are excited fans in Middle Tennessee will get the opportunity to watch potential Olympians at our venue," Ford Ice Center General Manager Danny Butler said. "It is also a great chance for the figure skating community to see the growth of our facility, the showcase of Tennessee skating talent and Scott Hamilton's Olympic gold medal in the rink he now calls home."
The competition is open to the public and tickets are available for purchase at the Ford Ice Center. Tickets are $15 per day or $35 for an all-event pass, which offers entry into all five days of the competition.