Unique Event on Black Ice Blends Skating with Fine and Decorative Art

Art of the Olympians Gallery to Open Celebrating Art, Culture and Sport

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (Olympic Authority) announces that the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships will return to the Olympic Center in Lake Placid from October 4 through 8, 2023. The event will include an Art of the Olympians exhibit and other fine arts. All skating competitions and art exhibits are open to the public with complimentary admission.

This international skating event blends the sport of figure skating with fine art, including performance, decorative, and recording arts, to offer a unique combination of a world-class skating competition and cultural celebration with a festival atmosphere. The not-for-profit World Figure Sport Society (WFSS) was founded in 2015 at the same time the first-ever World Figure Championship on black ice was held at the historic Olympic Center in Lake Placid. WFSS’s Skating Hall of Fame was also launched that same year, with Dick Button, who famously trained in Lake Placid under coach Gustave Lussi, among many skating legends attending the induction ceremony. Renamed in 2017 as the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships, the event returns home to Lake Placid for the first time since 2015.

“We are extremely excited to be hosting the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships,” says Chadd Cassidy, General Manager of the Olympic Center. “This is an event that blends skating with artistry. Spectators will enjoy the unique black ice and skill level of the competitors.”

Says Olympic skater and WFSS President Karen Courtland Kelly, “It’s unlike any other sporting event because it elevates and unites skating, jewels, and art as never seen before. The World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships is as much a fine art festival as a skating competition. During their individual routines, the artists blend skating techniques with the historic art of fancy figures by etching patterns on the ice with their skate blades, just as another artist would with a pencil or brush, and the patterns they produce are easily seen on the black ice. With Lake Placid’s rich history and all its contemporary events and activities, the Olympic Center is the perfect home for this iconic cultural and sport celebration.”

In addition to the competition on black ice, the event also includes these additional features:

  • Dorothy Hamill’s antique jeweled skate blade exhibition and pop-up museum inside the entrance to the 1932 Jack Shea Arena
  • Competitor practice sessions and filming of competitors and their work on black ice
  • Skating experiences on black ice with lessons and workshops for all ages and levels
  • The Fine Art on Ice World Finals competition on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Fancy Skating Art of Movement World Finals Saturday evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • World Junior Figure and Fancy Skating Championships (through age 21) on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
  • Official inclusive skating practice Sunday morning and after 3:15 p.m. for all ages and levels and anyone with any type of disability, including wheelchairs
  • Awards ceremony Sunday at 5 p.m.
  • Crystal Skating Ball and Lake Placid Skaters Reunion beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, featuring the Art of the Olympians Cocktail Party and the Roy Blakey Collection exhibit

Skating legends from the past and performing artists from the present all come together at these Championships for an experience that fuses the historic and contemporary, paving the way for present-day audiences the world over to enjoy figures and fancy skating.

Says Kelly, “The event is a unifying force that brings skaters and artists together in a celebration of culture, art, and sport. The World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships lift the art of skating while also supporting the development of skating artists of all ages, all levels, and all nationalities. Through scholarships, we provide skating experiences for everyone regardless of their life challenges, and in this way, we pass on the skills and knowledge from elite artists to a whole new generation of performers.”

Admission to the competition and all other components of the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships is free-of-charge for spectators with the exception of lessons, and workshops. All spectators and attendees are asked to register in advance at this link. Donations are accepted at the door and online at www.worldfiguresport.org to support the work of the not-for-profit WFSS, including this annual event and skating scholarships.