Lausanne, Switzerland


ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 Montpellier (FRA) @ISU 1388006876

Skaters thank the crowd during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 in Montpellier (FRA) @ISU (International Skating Union)

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 in Montpellier (FRA) wrapped up a long and exciting Olympic season for the senior-level Skaters and provided many highlights. Olympic Champions and medalists shone again, but we saw new faces on the podium as well and history was made. 

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 Montpellier (FRA) @ISU 1387875354

 Shoma Uno (JPN), Knierim/Frazier (USA), Papadakis /Cizeron (FRA) and Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) pose during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 in Montpellier (FRA) @ISU (International Skating Union)

Montpellier was very special for Olympic Ice Dance Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), who enjoyed immensely the opportunity to compete on home ice and to celebrate their success with their family, friends and French fans – none of which were able to come to the Olympic Games in Beijing due to the Covid-19 restrictions. 

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 Montpellier (FRA) @ISU 1387875354

Papadakis/Cizeron (FRA) react during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 in Montpellier (FRA) @ISU (International Skating Union)

Gabriella and Guillaume one more time mesmerized the crowd with their beautiful programs and claimed their fifth World title after 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019, setting new highest scores in the Rhythm Dance and Free Dance. The French are the first Ice Dancers since Liudmila Pakhomova/Alexander Gorshkov (URS) to win five World titles. Pakhomova/Gorshkov hold with six titles won 1970-74 and 1976 the record in the discipline. 

“I don’t think we have many opportunities to skate at home. Last time (Worlds) was in Nice (in 2012) and we weren’t even competing. I think it’s once in a lifetime and to be in an event when your chance of winning is pretty rare, so I think we are just very lucky to have had that opportunity and to be able to experience that moment at home – it’s pretty special,” Papadakis said.

Asked to compare the Olympic Winter Games and the ISU World Championships at home, Cizeron answered: “They were very different competitions. I think the stress was very different. In Beijing we were really going there to compete and get the gold and that was our goal. And here I think we saw it as more of a celebration of our journey of our school, of the sport, and being able to share that with our parents, our friends, our fans was extremely special. It was much better than we could have imagined – having the full audience here after Covid was incredible. We both had chills and it was hard to hold our tears before the performance. And then the music begins and all is good.”

“We knew our coaches and our teammates were on our side, our families were here too, so I think this time we didn’t just do it for us, we did it for our audience and we tried to be as generous as we could. It was very special having Worlds in France and being at the top of our career is a very special timing, and we know how fast it goes. So we really tried to grasp every moment of it,” Guillaume concluded.


Une publication partagée par Gabriella Papadakis (@gabriellapapadakis)

The Ice Dancers from the Ice Academy Montreal owned the podium with silver medalists Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA), who competed in the last event of their career, and bronze medalists Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA).

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA) ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 Montpellier (FRA) @ISU 1388011751

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA), Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA) and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) pose during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier (FRA) 2022 @ISU (International Skating Union)

There were even more beautiful and career-best performances in the Ice Dance event such as the ones from Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA), Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN), Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) and Olivia Smart/Adrian Diaz (ESP). Kana Muramoto/Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) provided a special highlight. The 2010 World Singles Champion Takahashi came back to the World Championships as an Ice Dancer – eight years after retiring from competing at the World level and two years after switching to Ice Dance.

Olympic bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) capped off a successful season by winning her first World title. The now 22-year-old achieved personal best scores in both programs and celebrated a confident victory. Sakamoto is the sixth Japanese Woman to win a World title and the first since 2014 to do so.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 Montpellier (FRA) @ISU 1387875354

Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) competes during the 2022 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, France. @ISU (International Skating Union)

“The training that I had to do before Worlds was probably the most difficult that I've ever had to do because I really tried to make such a big effort for the Olympics,” Kaori shared. “I think I probably just had fatigue and I burned out after that. But most of the skaters coming to Worlds – they had come through the Olympics as well – so I knew that I couldn't make an excuse just for myself that I was too tired because of the Olympics. And I think this is where all of the training that I've done in the past became a big piece of support and encouragement for me. That kind of helped to tide me over all the way to this World Championship. And I'm also looking back on the result today (and) so happy that I had confidence in myself.”

Silver medalist Loena Hendrickx (BEL) made history by becoming the first Single Skater from Belgium to win a World medal. Before her, Belgium had won only three World medals in Pair Skating in 1947 and 1948.
Loena Hendrickx WFSC Montpellier @ISU 1387722638

Loena Hendrickx (BEL) competes during the 2022 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, France. @ISU (International Skating Union)

“It's still really crazy when I read the sentence "vice-world champion" it feels still a bit unreal, but I start to realize that I really did it,” the 22-year-old noted. She hopes that her success will help to develop Figure Skating in Belgium. “I think they will open their eyes again and have more attention for Figure Skating. I think people get to know the sport more and better. Maybe there will be more young kids that want to start skating and that's something what I always wanted.”

Youngster Alysa Liu (USA), 16, grabbed the bronze overtaking her teammate Mariah Bell. However, Liu announced her retirement from the sport soon after.

Other highlights came from Young You (KOR) and Anastasiia Gubanova (GEO) who achieved the best World Championship result for a Georgian female Skater to date.

In the Men’s event, “silver boy” Shoma Uno (JPN) was finally golden at the World Championships. He collected his first title after two silver medals in 2017 and 2018. He had missed the podium in 2019 and 2021.

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier 1387344748

Shoma Uno (JPN) competes during the 2022 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, France. @ISU (International Skating Union)

“Of course I wanted to win, and make sure that Stephane (Lambiel, coach) and everybody around me who’s supporting me will be happy for me,” Uno commented. "And especially when I was not doing well at all, not doing anything I wanted to do, there was this person who supported me through this whole process - who is my coach (Lambiel). And for him, I really wanted to make sure that I deliver something to him and leave a good record. So, of course, today’s win is something I’m overjoyed with.”

Uno’s teammate and rising star Yuma Kagiyama made it one-two for Japan in the Men’s event. Bronze medalist Vincent Zhou (USA) had the most touching story. He had to withdraw from the Men’s event at the Olympic Winter Games after testing positive on Covid-19 and he fell in a deep hole.

“Well, the Covid itself wasn’t that bad but the mental hell I went through afterwards was infinitely worse than anything Covid could do to me,” the 21-year-old shared. "The one thing that got me here to France was the feeling inside me that I didn't want to live the rest of my life with the regret that I didn't even try. And so that was the only thing that I guess kept me invested in my step-by-step journey of coming here. So this medal definitely was very difficult for me to come by and it's definitely one of the most meaningful and significant moments in my career.”

Morisi Kvitelashvili made Georgia proud by coming fourth – the best result for the country at an ISU World Championship, together with the Pair Skaters. Newcomer Camden Pulkinen (USA), who replaced Olympic Champion Nathan Chen on the U.S. team on short notice, left a strong impression in his World debut.

Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier took the first Pair Skating title for the USA since 1979 – when the legendary Tai Babilonia/Randy Gardener had won.

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier Skating Championships Montpellier 2022 @ISU 1387542844

Brandon/Frazier (USA) competes during the 2022 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, France. @ISU (International Skating Union)

“Although being a world champion is a great thing, it doesn’t define who I am as a person and when I keep that in my perspective, I am able to take the ice with a sense of clarity and peace. When I was on the ice today there was a golden opportunity for us, but I kind of already felt golden in my own way – that whatever happened today I would feel fulfilled with the journey I’ve been on with Brandon and it allowed me to have freedom as we performed,” Alexa pointed out.

Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara continued their ascent this season and it cumulated in a World podium for them – the first World silver medal for a Japanese Pair and the first World medal for a Japanese Pair since 2012 (and the second World Pairs medal overall for the country).

Vanessa James/Eric Radford (CAN) who came out of retirement to team up only a year before earned the bronze medal and proved that it is never too late for a new beginning.

“When I look back at my skating career to have skated this season is completely unexpected I would never have imagined or dreamed it just was never on my radar it was very, very special,” Radford noted. “I’ve been saying it throughout the season, I just feel so much gratitude to have experienced the sport that I love in a completely different way with and obviously with a different partner and to go through the same process and the same training and the competitions with an incredibly new perspective and a totally different feeling when I’m on the ice especially during competition. it’s very special I think it’s very rare and I’m so full of gratitude and my heart is full of gratitude that it was able to happen with Vanessa,” he added.


While James/Radford have many years of experience under their belts, Junior eligible Karina Safina/Luka Berulava (GEO) debuted on the World Championship scene – also after having skated together for only one year. The young couple turned many heads this season and achieved the best results for Georgia at the World Championships together with Kvitelashvili.