Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) take part in the figure skating exhibition gala during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. @ AFP
Olympic and World medallists, including Olympic Ice Dance Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron of France, headline the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier (FRA) March 21 to 27, 2022.
Overview of the top contenders
Olympic and reigning ISU World silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama (JPN) leads the Men and has to expect stiff competition coming from teammate and Olympic bronze medalist Shoma Uno. Kagiyama achieved a seasons best score of 310.05 points in Beijing while Uno’s top score this season is 293.00 points. 2022 ISU Four Continents Champion Junhwan Cha (KOR), who came fifth at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, is now eying the World podium (seasons best 282.38).
Yuma Kagiyama (JPN) skates during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. @ Getty Images
2019 World bronze medalist Vincent Zhou (USA) wants to prove that he is back after he was unable to compete in the individual event in Beijing due to a positive Covid-19 test. Other contenders include Keegan Messing (CAN), 2022 ISU European silver medalist Daniel Grassl (ITA), 2022 ISU Four Continents silver medalist Kazuki Tomono (JPN) and 2022 ISU European bronze medalist Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT). Up and coming Ilia Malinin (USA) debuts at the international senior level.
Keegan Messing (CAN) skating during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
2022 Olympic bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) leads the Women and comes with a seasons best of 233.13 points to France. The race for the podium looks wide open with several top contenders in the medal hunt: 2018 World silver medalist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) and 2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion Young You (KOR) have the triple Axel in their arsenal as does Alysa Liu (USA). Others to watch include Loena Hendrickx (BEL), 2022 ISU Four Continents silver medalist Haein Lee (KOR), U.S. Champion Mariah Bell and Ekaterina Kurakova (POL).
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) skates during the Women Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
The Pairs competition focuses on the North American and Japanese teams. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) have the highest seasons best with 212.68 points, followed by two-time ISU Grand Prix medalists Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) with 211.89 points and U.S. Champions Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy LeDuc (USA) with 202.79 points. Vanessa James/Eric Radford (CAN) both have been on the World podium before, but with different partners and are in the mix as well. Others to watch include up and coming Karina Safina/Luka Berulava (GEO), 2022 ISU Four Continents bronze medalists Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud (CAN) as well as Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert (GER).
Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) skate during the Pair Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
Olympic Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) lead the Ice Dance field and are looking for a fifth World title on home ice. The French set a new highest total score of 226.98 points in Beijing. Competition should come from 2022 Olympic bronze medalists Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) with a seasons best of 218.02 points, two-time ISU Four Continents Champions Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) and 2021 ISU World bronze medalists Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN). Other contenders include two-time ISU European bronze medalists Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA), Olivia Smart/Adrian Diaz (ESP), Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) as well as 2022 ISU Four Continents silver medalists Kana Muramoto/Daisuke Takahashi (JPN). The 2010 ISU World Men’s Champion makes his World Championship debut as an Ice Dancer.
Kana Muramoto/Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) performs in the Gala Exhibition during the 2022 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.@ ISU
A total of 154 Skaters/Couples representing 38 ISU Members have been entered for the event.*
Skaters/Couples need to have obtained a minimum total technical score in Short Program and Free Skating in order to compete at the ISU World Championships. Due to the limited possibilities to compete during the ongoing pandemic, the ISU has adapted the rules for obtaining the minimum score. For more details, see ISU Communication 2370.
The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 886,000 at the ISU World Championships to Skaters/Couples placed 1st to 6th. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed Skaters/Couples as follows:
Men and Women:
1st place US$ 64,000
2nd place US$ 47,000
3rd place US$ 33,000
4th place US$ 19,000
5th place US$ 11,000
6th place US$ 8,000
Pairs and Ice Dance (per couple):
1st place US$ 90,000
2nd place US$ 65,500
3rd place US$ 45,000
4th place US$ 26,000
5th place US$ 16,000
6th place US$ 10,000
The schedule of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 is as follows:
Wednesday, March 23: Women and Pairs Short Programs, Opening Ceremony
Thursday, March 24: Men’s Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Friday, March 25: Ice Dance/Rhythm Dance, Women Free Skating
Saturday, March 26: Men’s Free Skating, Ice Dance/Free Dance
Sunday, March 27: Exhibition Gala
* Following the IOC recommendation, in order to protect the integrity of ice skating competitions and for the safety of all the participants of international ice skating competitions, the ISU Council based on Article 17.1.q) i) of the ISU Constitution, agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in international ice skating Competitions including ISU Championships and other ISU Events (Full Statement to be read on ISU website).