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Team USA skated off with their fifth ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating title as competition wrapped up in Tokyo (JPN) Saturday with the Pairs and Men’s Free Skating. The ISU World Team Trophy featured the top six teams of the 2022/23 season.

Captain Brown backs up Pairs victory to secure USA gold  

Team USA dominated to claim their fifth ISU World Team Trophy title, and their first since 2019, with a final tally of 120 points - 25 points to spare over second place.

Korea, on 95 points, edged host nation and two-time winners Japan into third by a single point to earn the silver in what was their debut at the event. The USA and Japan have been on the podium in every edition of the event since the inaugural ISU World Team Trophy in 2009.

Reigning World Pairs silver medalists Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier set the tone for the team with a win in the Pairs Free Skating to extend Team USA’s 15-point overnight lead still further.

Knierim Frazier USA

Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier picked up their second maximum score of the weekend by taking first place in the Pairs Free Skating. @ ISU

The 2022 ISU World Champions produced a triple twist, throw triple loop and flip as well as triple toe-double toe-double toe combination in their powerful performance to “Sign of the Times”. The only glitch came when Knierim missed the triple Salchow. Nevertheless, the US Champions achieved a new personal best with 147.87 points and picked up 12 points for their team.

Team USA captain Jason Brown turned in a strong performance to “The Impossible Dream” that featured a triple Axel-double Axel sequence and six more clean triple jumps. He scored 183.43 points, earning 10 team points for his third place.

Jason Brown USA

Team USA captain Jason Brown gave his team an unassailable lead with a strong third-place showing in the Men's Free Skating. @ ISU

Brown's performance had already secured gold for Team USA before Ilia Malinin came out to skate. The 2023 World bronze medalist went for the quad Axel, but missed. He recovered to land three other quads but fell on an underrotated quad Lutz to finish fifth in the Free Skating (173.64 for eight team points).

“It's been so fun getting to talk on behalf of my team the last few days, but I'm just going to let the skating from Team USA to speak for itself,” team captain Brown said.

“I'm really proud of them and what they put out and I feel like they all left it out on the ice.”

Asked about the unexpected dominance of the USA in the event, he replied:

“I think that the beauty of sport is that anything can happen at any moment. Nobody has a result in the bag. There's no guarantees.

Team USA

Team USA's unexpected dominance over the three days in Tokyo earned them a fifth ISU World Team Trophy gold in eight editions. @ ISU

“So many times we as athletes walk into events and people predict what's going to happen, and they say, ‘Oh, these are the odds, and this is how it's all going to unfold’.

“I felt that a lot throughout my career. That I've been counted out so many times, and I think that the beauty of the sport is you walk into an event and it's a clean slate. Anything can happen on the day, anyone can compete. Well, anyone can have a bad day. You just never know how the chips will fall.

“So each day we came into this event, and I think all teams came into this event giving it their all. The results ended the way they did, and they added up to what they added up at this particular event. But I think the most important thing is to never give up on yourself and to always believe that you have a shot no matter what.”

Bond mission accomplished for Korea captain Cha

Japan’s second place performance in the Pairs Free Skate had lifted the hosts into the silver medal position just ahead of Korea when ISU World silver medalist Junhwan Cha took the ice, knowing that the color of his team’s medals depended on him.

And, licensed to thrill, the captain duly delivered. Taking the role of James Bond, the Korean Champion nailed a quad Salchow, quad toe as well as triple Lutz-triple loop combination and a triple Axel-double Axel sequence; he only singled his second Axel.

Junhwan Cha KOR

Knowing his performance would determine the color of his team's medals, Junhwan Cha skated into first place to secure silver for Korea. @ ISU

Cha won the Free Skating segment with 187.82 points and secured the maximum of 12 points for his team to overtake Japan. The second Korean skater, Siyheong Lee, ranked 12th for one team point.

Earlier, Team Korea’s Pairs skaters Hyejin Cho/Steven Adcock, competing in their first international event, finished sixth in the Free Skating (102.27 points/seven team points).

“I'm so proud of my Team Korea because the last few days they showed us their spirit and they're passionate about what they love,” Cha noted.

Team Korea

Captain Cha led a 'passionate' Team Korea to silver on their ISU World Team Trophy debut . @ ISU

“I keep saying I'm so proud of Team Korea, but not because of results. I'm just really happy that our team Korea skaters really enjoy skating. They were fully into this competition. That's what I'm really proud of. And I was so happy to cheer here because it's our first time competing [at this event].

“I think we learned a lot of things this time. And what Jason said, never give up. That's the point.”

Japan miss out on silver but maintain podium streak

Japan settled for third place, just as they had two years ago. 2023 ISU World Pairs Champions Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara scored 11 points for Japan by coming second in the Free Skating, giving the hosts a narrow lead in the race for silver ahead of the final event, the Men’s Free Skating.

Skating to “Atlas: Two” and “Shared Tenderness”, the ISU Four Continents Champions landed a triple twist, triple Salchow and throw triple Lutz, but Miura popped the toeloop into a double. The Japanese team still set a personal best with 143.69 points.

Miura/Kihara JPN

Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara briefly lifted hosts Japan into second place with their runner-up spot in the Pairs Free Skating. @ ISU

In the Men’s Free Skating, Shun Sato (164.86 points) and Kazuki Tomono (164.55 points) placed eighth and ninth, collecting five and four points respectively, seeing Japan slip back into third by a single point courtesy of Cha’s maximum for Korea.

“These three days in a row, all the athletes were doing their best and showing their passion, so I was really impressed and moved by that,” team captain Kaori Sakamoto said.

“I think it's really about going beyond the expectation and it's all about getting the result, an unexpected one.

“I’m really happy to compete and we do the best of the best and then the results come. We’re competing this time as a team and I'm very proud of everyone who was fighting in the competition.”

Team Japan

The hosts finished a point behind Korea to win the bronze medal. Japan have been on the podium in all eight editions of the World Team Trophy. @ ISU

Japan, which has hosted every edition of the ISU World Team Trophy, has now won five bronze medals at the event, along with one silver and two golds, in 2012 and 2017. First-time captain Sakamoto pointed out how different this event feels to the individual championships.

“It is something rare that we have our team mates together at the rink-side. Usually, there are our coaches, judges, the audience and that’s all. But this time, we had our team mates and also athletes from other countries cheering for us.”

Rizzo personal best lifts Italy into fourth

Team Italy moved up to finish fourth with a final score of 83 points. 2023 European silver medalist Matteo Rizzo contributed 11 team points by finishing second in the Free Skating with a strong performance to “Talking to the Moon” that included a quad toe, quad loop and six solid triples. He achieved a personal best of 187.35 points.

Matteo Rizzo ITA

Matteo Rizzo posted a personal best in the Men's Free Skating to lift Italy above neighbours France in the final event of the competition. @ ISU

Daniel Grassl placed sixth (173.53/seven team points). World Pairs bronze medalists Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii ranked third in the Pairs event with 130.22 points, adding 10 points to the team score.

France slipped to fifth on 80 points. Captain Kevin Aymoz was once again the top scorer of his team. His Free Skating to the “Gladiator” soundtrack was highlighted by a quad toe-triple toe and six triples. Aymoz came fourth with 178.85 points (nine team points). 2023 ISU European Champion Adam Siao Him Fa was 10th (three team points) while Camille and Pavel Kovalev placed fifth in the Pairs Free Skating (114.78 points/six team points).

Canada remained in sixth and last place with a total of 68 points. ISU Four Continents Pairs bronze medalists Deanna Stellato/Maxime Deschamps finished fourth in the Pairs Free Skating (129.73 points/six team points). Keegan Messing gave an emotional final competitive performance before retirement. He ranked seventh in the Men’s Free Skating (172.99 points), which meant six points for Canada.

Competition format and qualifying

The ISU World Team Trophy format is based on a competition consisting of the six best national teams from ISU Members with a special provision for the host ISU Member to be included. Each team will be composed of two Men, two Ladies, one Pair Skating couple and one Ice Dance couple, i.e. a total of eight skaters per team.

The team event consists of two phases of competition, the Short Program/Rhythm Dance and the Free Skating/Free Dance. Teams are awarded 12 to 1 team points (12 points for first place, 1 point for 12th place) for Men and Ladies and respectively 12 to 7 points for Pairs and Ice Dance couples in the Short Program/Rhythm Dance and in the Free Skating/Free Dance. The standings are calculated according to the sum of the team points achieved in each phase of the event. Several tie breakers are in place.

The teams qualified based on a scoring scale used for the ISU World Standing points are scored by their best two Women and Men, their best Pair and best Ice Dance couple primarily at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events and Final season 2022/23 and the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023, plus possibly the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2023, ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2023, the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2023 and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating season 2022/23.

Following the IOC recommendation and 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. The same applies to Officials listed in the respective ISU Communications and/or Regulations under Russia and Belarus (see ISU Communication 2469).


Schedule of the event

The schedule of the ISU World Team Trophy is as follows:

Thursday, April 13:                   Rhythm Dance, Women & Men’s Short Program
Friday, April 14:                        Pairs Short Program, Free Dance & Women’s Free Skating
Saturday, April 15:                   Pairs & Men’s Free Skating
Sunday, April 16:                     Exhibition Gala


For full entries and results, please see the ISU event page. Follow the discussion on social media using #WTTFigure and #FigureSkating. 


Where to watch the ISU World Team Trophy 2023:

The ISU World Team Trophy will be live streamed on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. Geo-restrictions will apply in markets where TV rights are in place. You will find the full list in the Where to Watch news here.

Subscribe to the Skating ISU YouTube Channel to receive alerts when the live streams start and when new videos are posted.