Now I'm sure Japan would've pulled off a Championship with an unprecedented level of enthusiasm and brilliance, but unforeseeable catastrophic events preempted that. We all wish the very best to Japan, which will undoubtedly recover and be able to stage a great Championship in the future.
But I really have to credit the Russian organizers. There were many who said it couldn't be done. There's no way a World Championship can be organized on a month's notice! But the organizers made it happen! And by all accounts, everything was wonderful. There were even reports from the skaters saying that the ice condition being especially good. For this viewer at home, I have to say the camerawork and direction at these championships were the best of any figure skating event I've seen this year. Very calm and professional shots that mostly avoided such pratfalls as weird tilts or focusing on one body part while leaving out the rest. The crowd seemed knowledgeable and supportive, giving extra loud cheers to skaters returning from a hiatus, and trying to encourage skaters who made mistakes. All in all, it went so well I forgot this was an emergency substitute host!
At the same time, we have to acknowledge that the organizers may have taken a loss on the Championships. While it seemed like they got a variety of sponsorships, I'm not sure if they had sufficient time to advertise and fill up the seats with ticket buyers or get the very best sponsorship deals. Of course, I'm sure the expenses were subsidized by the Russian authorities, and they may very rightfully consider it money well spent. It's an investment into drumming up enthusiasm and gaining experience for skaters, coaches and organizers for Sochi. Plus, it entertained many Russians (and people from all over the world), and that's always worth something. As a skating fan, I am very grateful that a lot of managers, coordinators and planners scrambled really hard to make sure these Championships took place at all.
However, it has to be said that the Russian regime remains an autocratic one that practices many horrible policies, suppressing freedom and journalism. And that the central regime, including Vladmir Putin who attended these championships, hoard money and power, creating an ever increasing inequality among the few empowered and the many powerless. I am mindful that this substitute championship is only possible because of this harmful system. I would rather there be no oppressive regimes anywhere on Earth, even if it meant no Championships this year. But I'm also very happy and glad that the Championships took place after all and went so smoothly. Those are totally paradoxical feelings, but there they are.