ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 – Helsinki (FIN) Preview

Source: isu.org

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 will open in Helsinki, Finland, on March 29. The ISU World Figure Skating Championships will be held in Helsinki for the third time after 1999 and 1983. 193 skaters from 36 ISU members have been entered for the Championships. Skaters/couples need to have obtained a minimum total technical score in Short Program and Free Skating in order to compete at the World Championships. All four reigning World Champions are back in action. The results of the World Championships will also decide about the majority of quota places for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Overview of the top contenders

The highly competitive Men’s event will be a “quad fest” with more and more skaters including multiple quadruple jumps into their routines. Reigning World and European Champion Javier Fernandez (ESP), 26, is up against a strong group of competitors who are ready to challenge for the title. Fernandez has a season’s best of 294.84 points. Nathan Chen (USA) became the first skater to land five quadruple jumps in one program and tops the season’s best list with 307.46 points. Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), who lost to Fernandez at the past two World Championships, plans three quads (seasons best 303.71 points). 2017 Four Continents bronze medalist Shoma Uno (JPN), 2016 World bronze medalist Boyang Jin (CHN), three-time World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN) and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten (KAZ) will join the medal hunt in Helsinki.

Currently the highest scores are as follows:
Short Program: 110.95 (Y. Hanyu, set at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2015/16)
Free Skating: 219.48 (Y. Hanyu, set at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2015/16)
Total Score: 330.43 (Y. Hanyu, set at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2015/16)

In the Ladies event, 2016 World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) has dominated all season so far and is aiming at back-to-back world titles. The two-time European Champion comes with a seasons best of 229.71 points, which is the highest total score so far achieved in ISU competition. The challenge should come from 2016 World silver medalist Ashley Wagner (USA/seasons best 196.44 points), 2016 World bronze medalist Anna Pogorilaya (RUS/seasons best 216.47 points), Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN/seasons best 212.45 points) and 2012 World Champion Carolina Kostner (ITA/seasons best 210.52 points). Kostner returned to competition this season after sitting out the past two World Championships. Others to watch include 2017 Four Continents Champion Mai Mihara (JPN), 2017 Four Continents silver medalist Gabrielle Daleman (CAN) and Maria Sotskova (RUS).

Currently the highest scores are as follows:
Short Program: 79. 21 (E. Medvedeva, set at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2016/17)
Free Skating: 150.79 (E. Medvedeva, set at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2017)
Total Score: 229.71 (E. Medvedeva, set at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2017)

The Pairs event looks wide open with a strong group of contenders that can all grab the title. Two-time and reigning World Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN/seasons best 218.30 points) will face two-time World silver medalists Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN/seasons best 225.03) and 2017 European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS), whose seasons best of 227.58 points is the top score this season so far. 2017 European silver medalists Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER/seasons best 222.35 points) and 2014 Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS/seasons best 216.51 points) are challenging for gold as well. Other contenders include 2017 European bronze medalists Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA), ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalists Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang (CHN), Julianne Seguin/ Charlie Bilodeau (CAN) and Alex Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim (USA).

Currently the highest scores are as follows:
Short Program: 84.17 (Volosozhar/Trankov, set at 2014 Olympic Winter Games)
Free Skating: 154.66 (Volosozhar/Trankov, set at 2013 Skate America)
Total Score: 237.71 (Volosozhar/Trankov, set at 2013 Skate America)

The battle for the podium will be fierce in the Ice Dance event as well. Two-time and reigning World Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) are up against 2010 Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN), who came back from two-year-break to claim the titles at the ISU Grand Prix Final and Four Continents Championships earlier this season. Virtue/Moir come with a season’s best of 197.22 points to Helsinki, the highest total score achieved in ISU competition, while Papadakis/Cizeron scored 193.50 points. 2016 World silver medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA/seasons best 191.85 points), 2016 World bronze medalist Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA/seasons best 188.24 points), 2014 World Champions Anna Cappellini/ Luca Lanotte (ITA/seasons best 186.84 points) and 2016 European bronze medalists Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS/seasons best 186.68 points) have set their eyes on the podium as well. Other contenders include Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN), Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN), Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA), Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS), Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) and Isabella Tobias/Ilia Tkachenko (ISR).

Currently the highest scores are as follows:
Short Dance: 80.50 (Virtue/Moir, set at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2016/17)
Free Dance: 118.17 (Papadakis/Cizeron, set at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016)
Total Score: 197.22 (Virtue/Moir, set at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2016/17)

Prize money

The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 686,750 at the World Championships to skaters/couples placed 1st to 12th in Men and Ladies, 1st to 8th in Pair Skating and 1st to 10th in Ice Dance. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:

Men and Ladies                                                       Pairs and Dance (per couple)
1st place US$ 45,000                                                1st place US$ 67,500
2nd place US$ 27,000                                               2nd place US$ 40,500
3rd place US$ 18,000                                                3rd place US$ 27,000
4th place US$ 13,000                                                4th place US$ 19,500
5th place US$ 10,000                                                5th place US$ 15,000
6th place US$ 7,000                                                  6th place US$ 10,500
7th place US$ 6,000                                                  7th place US$ 9,000
8th place US$ 5,000                                                  8th place US$ 7,500
9th place US$ 3,500                                                  9th place US$ 5,250 (only Ice Dance)
10th place US$ 3,000                                               10th place US$ 4,500 (only Ice Dance)
11th place US$ 2,500
12th place US$ 2,000

The schedule of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 is as follows:
Wednesday, March 29: Ladies & Pairs Short Program
Thursday, March 30: Men Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Friday, March 31: Short Dance, Ladies Free Skating
Saturday, April 1: Men’s Free Skating, Free Dance
Sunday, April 2: Exhibition Gala

For more information, full entry lists and results please see: www.isu.org and the official event website  http://www.helsinki2017.com/ #WorldFigure and #helsinki2017

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