A regular stage of the figure skating Grand Prix series is starting at the Luzhniki Sport Palace in Moscow on Friday, November 21.
According to president of Russia's figure skating federation Valentin Piseyev, 68 athletes from 16 countries will participate in the competition, with three representatives of Russia participating in each figure skating event (women's and men's singles, pairs, and ice dancing).
In Piseyev's opinion, the Moscow stages of the Grand Prix series of this and next years give a good chance to form the organizing committee for preparing for the world figure skating championship, to be staged in Russia's capital in 2005.
For his part, chairman of the Moscow sports committee Sergei Korol believes that the holding of such major tournaments is very important for Moscow which is vying for the right to host the 2012 Olympics. "But even if we do not get the Olympics we will gain invaluable experience," he said.
The Grand Prix stage in Moscow will be the fifth in this series of competitions. The Russian figure skaters registered success in the previous tournaments: Yevgeny Plyushchenko took gold in men's singles in Canada, while Tatyana Totmyanina and Maxim Marinin won top honors in pairs. Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov won ice dancing in Canada and China.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine suffered losses while trying to land troops on the territory of the Crimean peninsula, Andrei Yusov, a spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the republic said