Japan’s Yuto Totsuka competes during the men’s World Cup freestyle halfpipe snowboard event in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Japan’s Yuto Totsuka competes during the men’s World Cup freestyle halfpipe snowboard event in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

World freestyle, snowboard championship in Calgary won’t happen

Calgary will not host the world snowboard and freestyle championship next month.

The international governing body of skiing (FIS), Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard have abandoned plans to hold the championship Feb. 24 to March 14.

Calgary would have been a substitute host for the championship, originally scheduled to be held in China as a test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Uncertainty over international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic was the primary reason to stop pursuing an event that would have brought roughly 500 athletes to Calgary.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have had extensive meetings with all of our key stakeholders including FIS, along with our generous corporate and government partners at all levels,” Freestyle Canada chief executive officer Peter Judge said Wednesday in a statement.

“At the end of the day — after reviewing all facets of the event — we simply ran out of runway to make these world championships a reality.”

“While we are gutted, the safety and health of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff is, and always will be, our top priority. COVID-19 continues to evolve globally, and we believe this decision is in the best interest of our broader sport community at this time.”

Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard were working on hosting a month-long series of international events at Canada Olympic Park, which would have included the world championship.

“We were endeavouring to give our fans watching at home a much-needed respite from the current climate,” Canada Snowboard executive director Dustin Heise said.

“But at this point — and as the situation continues to rapidly change — the right thing to do for our athletes and broader community, is to pause.

“While this is disappointing, we will now turn our focus to applying that work to bringing the world back to Canada next season in an effort to help our athletes fully prepare for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.”

Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard will instead try to bring a series of World Cup events to Calgary in December.

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