Ice Network

Trophée Bompard canceled after terror attacks

Gailhaguet: We are 'completely devastated and extremely disappointed'
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Didier Gailhaguet announces the cancelation of 2015 Trophée Eric Bompard. -Getty Images

At noon local time on Saturday, 1 1/2 hours prior to the start of competition, French Federation of Ice Sports President Didier Gailhaguet organized a meeting in the "Axel" room of the Patinoire de Mériadeck. With a heavy voice and emotional eyes, he announced to all skaters, coaches and officials present in Bordeaux that the French government had decided to cancel the remainder of 2015 Trophée Eric Bompard.

"I regret to inform you that due to the day of mourning in France and, most of all, the state of emergency in France, the French government has decided to cancel the Trophy, the fourth stage of the Grand Prix," Gailhaguet said. "The French federation and the ISU are completely devastated and extremely disappointed.

"Even though we had nothing to do with the decision, we feel sorry for the skating family. We'll all do our utmost to help you," Gailhaguet continued. "We've made proposals to the ISU about how to handle the selection for the Grand Prix Final. I am absolutely sorry for the decision."

Peter Krick, the figure skating sports director at the ISU who is present in Bordeaux, also made a statement.

"I have just informed (ISU) President [Ottavio] Cinquanta of the decision of the French government. We're sorry for it," Krick said. "I'll propose that the results of the short program provide the basis for the selection to the (Grand Prix) Final, so that the skaters present here are not penalized by having participated in only one Grand Prix. This, however, is only a proposal, as the ISU Council will have to make a formal decision. But I am confident the Council will follow it, so that no one will suffer to have only one Grand Prix event."

Such a decision would favor those who achieved good results in the short program and eliminate those who did not. It would mean, for instance, that the men's winners of the first two Grand Prix, Max Aaron and Patrick Chan, would not qualify for the Final.

Earlier in the morning, Gailhaguet and the ISU confirmed their wish to keep the competition going in spite of the attacks that reportedly killed 130 people in Paris and the surrounding area. The civil authorities decided otherwise.

"We have to comply with it," Gailhaguet said privately.

A press release from the mayor of Bordeaux and France's minister of interior affairs confirmed the decision.

The release read in part, "We have informed the French Federation that the competition at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Bordeaux has to be cancelled due to the state of emergency and national mourning days in France."

At the end of his and Krick's speeches, Gailhaguet sang the French national anthem a capella. The French in attendance joined in.

Most skaters were completely devastated.

"I went to bed at 8:30 last night and slept through the night. This morning, when I connected to my computer, I was horrified," French skater Maé Bérénice Méité said. "I went to practice, but I must say that it was not easy."

Chan, with his usual kindness, gave his condolences and best wishes to Gailhaguet and Eric Bompard, the main sponsor of the event.

"This kind of an event puts life in perspective," Chan added.

Russian pairs skaters Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov and several others also wished good luck to Gailhaguet.

"What can you say?" a devastated Vanessa James said through her tears. "I'm so sad…"