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The Big Picture

ISU Championship Allotments for 2023/24 and Later

Season 2023/24 Figure Skating

    December 7 - 10, 2023 - ISU Grand Prix Final, TBD

    Jan 22 - Jan 28, 2024 - ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Budapest, HUN

    Jan 29 - Feb 04, 2024 - ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Shanghai, CHN

    Feb 26 - Mar 03, 2024 - ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Taipei City, TPE

    Mar 18 - Mar 24, 2024 - ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Montréal, CAN

Season 2024/25 Figure Skating

    January 20 - 26, 2025 - ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Zagreb, CRO

    February 24 - March 2, 2025 - ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Debrecen, HUN

    March 24 - 30, 2025 - ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Boston, MA, USA

    April 4 - 5, 2025 - ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, Tampere, FIN

Season 2025/26 Figure Skating

    January 12 - 18, 2026 - ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Sheffield GBR

     ISU March 23 - 29, 2026 -World Figure Skating Championships, Prague, CZE 

U.S. Figure Skating 2023-24 Domestic Competitions



2024 Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships

2024 Midwestern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships

2024 Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships

2024 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships


2023 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships

Apr 12 - Apr 15, 2023
Salt Lake City, Utah

2024 Eastern Adult Sectional Championships

2024 Midwestern Adult Sectional Championships

2024 Pacific Coast Adult Sectional Championships

2024 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships

  In the News

Thoughts on a Modern Competition Structure

U.S. Figure Skating Need a Modern Competition Structure That Allows Skaters to Become as Good as They Can as Fast as They Can

Malinin Executes Extraordinary Quad Axel at Worlds, Judges Say Meh

2023 World Synchronized Championships

by Liz Leamy

Les Supremes of Canada triumph to take second consecutive World Synchronized title in Lake Placid

It was another day of edge-of-your-seat competition at the 2023 World Synchronized Championships, held at the storied Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, as the sport’s finest teams from all around the globe faced off against one another in fierce fashion in hopes of clinching big marks and high placement at this main skating event.

In the final tally, Les Supremes, the electric Canadian contingent who claimed gold at the 2022 World Synchronized Championships triumphed once again, winding up at the top of the 23-team roster leaderboard with the highest marks of the competition, a 240.98.

Skating to the dramatic operatic theme of Madame Butterfly as reinterpreted through a compilation of various selections by Apashe, Tommee Profitt and Karl Hugo, this troupe was all about heart, energy and technique as they expressed a victorious final narrative in regard to this famously tragic story to earn a season’s best of 161.98.

“Our free program this season is Madame Butterfly,” said Olivia Di Giandomenico, Les Supremes Team Captain. “So we took the classical story of Madame Butterfly and we decided to change the ending so that she really fights for herself and her happiness and thrives at the end.”

The energy and execution by this team was in fact, so exceptional that it brought virtually all of the spectators at the nearly packed Herb Brooks Arena to their feet with near-deafening applause at its finish.

Specifically, their program featured artful split lifts, fluid death spirals, a lightning-quick and tight intersection and fast twizzles, counters and brackets and steps done with speed, excellent body lean and edges, among other memorable things.

For members of this Montreal-based team, it was all about preparation and hard work.

“It’s an honor to be on the podium today,” said Julia Bernardo, Les Supremes Team Captain. “We’ve been working super hard all season and improving our programs after every competition. It’s a great reward after a long season.”

Team Helsinki Rockettes of Finland, the 2022 World bronze medalists, scored silver with a 239.56 total with a stunning free skate to a theme that revolved around Mozart’s famous dramatic (and final) composition, ‘Requiem in D Minor.’

Another huge crowd favorite, the Rockettes racked up a 160.95 for their performance, putting them in third in this portion of the competition behind Les Supremes and Finland’s Team Unique, respectively.

This program, which was about energy, speed, skill, athleticism and artistry, featured many standout elements including a high-flying lift sequence in which several skaters did Cirque de Soleil-like backbend moves, synchronized death spirals from interesting entries, an intricate footwork sequence and lightning-quick pass through.

For skaters of this team, the goal was to put out their best performance.

“It feels amazing and it’s an honor,” said Petra Viitanen, Team Helsinki Rockettes’ Captain. “We have worked hard and it’s a great achievement to be on the podium.”

Despite a minor slip coming out of a lift, the Rockette’s performance was so dynamic, powerful, technical and intricate, it generated a great deal of buzz among spectators long after the competition had concluded, much like that of the performances of the other podium finishers, which certainly spoke volumes about their work.

Team Unique of Finland, meanwhile, secured bronze with a 237.68.

Skating to selections by Barbara Pravi and Shigeru Umebayashi, this uber-focused team executed a gorgeous lift sequence in which they did vertical 180-degree positions, nice camel spins, fast footwork and a level-four no-hold to earn a season’s best of 161.55 as well as second place in this segment of the competition.

“We wanted to really use out strength, which is our artistry and body movements,” said Jenni Puhakka, Team Unique Captain.

Puhakka’s teammates agreed.

“We are also very happy,” said Tullia Niituinpera, Team Unique Captain. “It’s been such a nice journey this whole season.”

Team Nexxice of Canada earned a 155.91 for their electric free skate to Ryuchi Sakamoto’s ‘El Mar Mediterrani’ to clinch fourth with a 228.08 total.

“We built upon last season into this season and it was really memorable,” said Emma Daigle, Team Nexxice Captain. “It was amazing being out there, especially seeing all the Canadian flags.”

The Haydenettes, the Boston-based reigning U.S. titlists, racked up an impressive fifth-place finish with a 218.32 total.

This renowned synchro faction climbed from sixth in the short to fifth overall for their incredible free skate to David Madsen’s ‘Quest for Souls,’ in which they earned a 153.55.

This program featured a fast and fluid no-hold element, dramatic death spirals, beautifully extended lifts and an adrenalized footwork line sequence, among other things.

“We went out there, did our job and it really paid off,” said Cameron Feeley, a Haydenettes Captain. “We were definitely focused, especially on the crowd. Having the crowd on our side throughout the whole performance made us calm, but also gave us excitement.”

Feeley’s teammate and fellow Haydenettes Captain, Autumn Coulthard, agreed.

“It was amazing to be out there,” said Coulthard. “We were fighting for every element and leaving everything out there.”

Canada’s Les Supremes soar to first in short at World Synchronized Championships

Les Supremes, the 2022 International Skating Union Canadian World gold medalists, catapulted to first in the short program at the 2023 World Synchronized Championships in Lake Placid with a rock-solid short performance for which they racked up a season’s best, a 79.00, edging out the top spot among the 23-team roster by nearly one point.

Skating to Estrella Morente’s ‘La Di a la Cazae Alcance,’ this 16-member Montreal-based squad skated in the manner of top world contenders as they were all about power, precision and purpose, much to the delight of the packed house of spectators at the famed Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York that was filled with a sizable Canadian, as well as American contingent as well.

“It was super fun being out there and after every element we really felt the energy of the crowd,” said Julia Bernardo of Les Supremes. “I think the crowd fuels us and we just love the sport.”

This team executed all of their elements with strength, aptitude, unity and confidence, particularly the spirals, twizzles and slide sequence that featured cool slides, among other things.

“We’re really happy with our skate,” said Bernardo. “The crowd was super welcoming and it was fun to see all the Canadian flags with everyone standing and cheering us on.”

Finland’s Team Helsinki Rockettes scored the second-highest marks in this portion of the competition, a 78.61, for their high-charged program to Kate Bush’s ‘Breathing’ and Karl Hugo’s ‘Rebirth Breaths.’

Commanding the ice with the confidence of seasoned global contenders, this team flew around the ice with power, speed and confidence, earning big scores for all of their required elements.

In particular, this team’s no-hold pass through, line step sequence and spirals were notable and also helped earn them high grade of execution marks.

“It was amazing. We did it together and felt the team, felt the ice, felt the audience and it was amazing,” said Petra Viitanen, the Rockette’s Team Captain.

Team Unique of Finland, wearing stunning red dresses, wowed the Lake Placid crowd with their performance to ‘I See Red’ and ‘Wicked Ways’ by Everybody Loves An Outlaw for which they earned a 76.13, a season’s best.

“It was really, really loud and we enjoyed it a lot,” said Tullia Niituinpera, of Team Unique. “Of course, it feels really good to reach a new season best in the most important competition of the season.”

Team Miami University of the U.S. placed an impressive fifth with a 70.07 for their sensational routine to the iconic classic rock hit ‘Dream On’ as performed by Cinematic Pop and Rob Gardner.

Another major crowd favorite (especially considering they were representing the U.S. here in Lake Placid) this team resonated of elegance, power and precision and executed memorable elements such as a wheel featuring a skater doing a lovely layback spin as well as a fluid step sequence, among other things.

For the skaters on this team, it was all about working together and expressing the narrative of the music, which was inspired by the memorable film ‘Miracle’ that tells the story of the U.S. hockey team defeating Russia when they claimed gold at the 1980 Olympics at the Herb Brooks Arena where this event was being held.

“It was incredible being out there,” said Brittany Rivelli of Team Miami University. “We just wanted to go out there and show the world who we are and this music really resonated with us.”

Rivelli’s teammate Isabella Nicole Quintero, agreed.

“We watched the movie ‘Miracle’ last week and it really inspired us,” said Quintero, whose team scored silver at the 2023 U.S. Synchro Championships. “Our motto is grit drives success.”

The Haydenettes, the 2023 U.S. titlists from Boston, were sixth after the short program with a score of 64.77.

“It was such an incredible experience, especially during the whole warmup time,” said Cameron Feeley of the Haydenettes. “Then I think in our opening pose, we felt the energy and as soon as the music started, we were locked in and in our zone and the crowd was there giving us energy, but we made sure to stay in our bubble and stay focused throughout the whole time.”

2023 World Figure Skating Championships

Saitama, Japan

21-26 March 2023

By Klaus-Reinhold Kany


Women's Champion Kaori Sakamoto

Women Short Program

The short program of the 35 women at the World Championships in Saitama, Japan, had a very good level, although only one skater (Rinka Watanabe fell) tried a triple Axel. Quad are not allowed in women’s short programs.

The 2022 World Champion and favorite Kaori Sakamoto from Japan took the lead with 79.24 points, almost six points ahead of the rest of the field. All her seven elements were at least excellent, including a combination of triple flip and triple toe loop in the second half, which had even one GOE of +5. Her triple Lutz, her double Axel, her three spins (all Level 4) were excellent as well. Her step sequence had two GOEs of +5 because her speed and her skating skills were superior to the other skaters. Her components were around 9.1. with several 9.5 as highest ones.

She commented, “The first half of the season my short program was not stable. So there were some concerns and worries, but I was able to train towards this World Championships. So all my worries and anxiety changed to confidence. Today I was able to put everything out there and I was able to not only have fun but a vigorous program. When I was in Junior High School, we had a club summer camp and my coach told me to skate with top speed and to jump without decelerating the speed. At the time it was really scary for me but I started to get used to it, and gradually jumping like that gave me great pleasure and from there I started to wonder and be curious to what would happen if I jumped like that in competitions. So that is the beginning and reason why I am able to do such dynamic jumps now.”

Haein Lee from South Korea sits second with 73.62 points. Her seven elements were excellent as well and had mainly GOEs of +3, including the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop and the triple flip. Her components were around 8.5. She said, “I tried really hard to come to this World Championships, to win my ticket at Nationals. I am really happy to be here with such great skaters as Kaori and Mai. I was really happy to be able to put out my best, in this dream stage. Winning at the Four Continents Championships helped me a lot to build my confidence, and I was really happy to do that.”

The second Japanese woman Mai Mihara is on third position with 73.46 points. Six of her elements were at least very good, but the toe loop of her combination with the triple Lutz got a q because it was nearly under-rotated. Her components had an average of 8.6. She explained, “I never thought that I would be the most nervous throughout the whole season. My legs were shaking going to the sixth minute warm up, but when my name was called, I looked up and I saw all these banners and people cheering for me. I almost had tears in my eyes, and felt how happy I was. And it was a joyful moment for me. And when I was skating, the tension turned into very good positive power and energy for me. I was able to go through the whole program and I really felt relieved. The crowd was really warm with their cheering. It is true it makes me nervous, but I’m trying to turn that nervousness into very good tension for me. And they really pushed me to do well.”

The new U.S. champion Isabeau Levito placed fourth with 73.03 points. Six elements were excellent, but like Mihara she got a q for the triple toe loop of her combination. Her components were around 8.5. She said, “I feel very good about my performance. I was very interested in how I will do at my first Worlds, and every arena feels different. It's my first time in Japan and I really felt it. I am really proud of myself for skating the way I skated, I am really happy with my score, and I’ve loved this experience so far.”

Loena Hendrickx from Belgium is currently on fifth position with 71.94 points. Six elements were excellent or even stellar, the step sequence even had four GOEs of +5. But she fell on the triple toe loop in her combination with the triple Lutz. Her components were around 8.8. She commented, “I had a really rough time going into the World Championships and my main goal was to enjoy it today and to regain the joy. This season I was really nervous all the time so what I tried to do today was just enjoying the performance. And except that one mistake the rest was really good and I gave everything in my might. I could be unsatisfied but I am not despite the fall.”

Nina Petrokina from Estonia came sixth with 68.00 points. Six of her elements were very good, but in her combination the triple toe loop after the triple flip got a q. Her commentary, “I’ve worked very, very hard to be able to skate the short program as clean as I did. I’ll probably change the short program for next season, and now I have tears of joy and tears of sadness in my eyes, because this is my favorite program of all I had.”

Nicole Schott from Germany finished seventh with 67.29 points after a flawless performance with a good combination of triple flip and triple toe loop, a good triple loop and an excellent step sequence. She said, “The World Championship is my competition. It seems that I first need to make it to the end of the season to just do it. It just felt like "finally" because I did it for so long in training and somehow it never really worked out. Training is one thing, there are a lot of training world champions, but the ones who perform consistently in competition are the ones who win medals and this is just another confirmation that it can work for me.”

Bradie Tennell finished eighth with 66.45 points. In her combination, the triple Lutz as well as the triple toe loop got a q, as well as the triple flip. The other elements were good. The components had an average of 8.0. She commented, “I was really happy with my performance, this was a really emotional skate for me. Being back in Japan after two years, and back at Worlds. My first Worlds with an audience since the last time I was here in 2019. The fans are so supportive here, and I cannot express how much that means coming back from an injury, and a year before with Covid. It is such a wonderful feeling to have that support from the fans, it just makes me want to work that much harder, to give them a better performance. The entire past eight months were probably some of the most difficult in my life.” Ekaterina Kurakova from Poland placed ninth with 65.69 points.

The third U.S. skater Amber Glenn is tenth with 65.52 points. Her combination of triple flip and triple toe loop was good, her double Axel as well, but she touched down on the triple loop. Her components were around 7.7. She said, “My performance today was not terrible. I have had a very difficult couple weeks just leading in – just out of nowhere accidents and coincidences that could have prevented me from being here, but I made it and held myself together pretty well.”

Women Free Skate

The women’s free program in Saitama had a good level, although nobody landed a clean triple Axel nor tried a quad. A lot of skaters got standing ovations. Kaori Sakamoto from Japan defended her title from last year, this time with 224.61 points. Skating to “Elastic Heart” by Australian female singer Sia, she opened her program with a huge double Axel which got four GOEs of +5. Six triple jumps followed, most of them in an excellent quality and no jump was under-rotated. But she had no triple-triple combination because she popped the second flip, could add, however, a triple toe loop. Her spins were very good and her two step sequences outstanding. Her components had an average of 9.2.

She commented, “This time ideally I wanted to skate clean, and I really wanted to finish with a happy smile. I really regret making the exact same mistake as four years ago, but I was able to be calm and do the triple and I was able to recover. So in that sense I think I feel my growth since four years ago. The biggest challenge I had to overcome this season was from getting the medal at the Olympics, then winning at Worlds last year, and I had to overcome the pressure. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the season I had many disappointing experiences. But now that I think of it, that was part of a good experience for me, when I overcame that at Japanese Nationals.”

Haein Lee from South Korea won the silver medal with 220.94 points and the best free program. She did not pop any jumps and therefore had seven triples, including a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop (which got a q). Her step sequence and her combination spin were stellar and got mainly GOEs of +4. Her music was from the musical “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and her components were around 9.0. She said, “The first half of this season was very rough to me, but I really tried not to give up and to bring back myself. I achieved more than I expected. I brought everything to the audience that I wanted to bring. I have admired Kaori probably since 2016, especially about her techniques. When skaters get into the jumps, they often reduce the speed. Their body gets really tense because of the nerves, but she really doesn’t show that. So I want to learn that from her. Achieving the first World Championship medal for Korea ten years after Yuna Kim is such a huge honor to me. Next season I will go for the triple Axel.”

Loena Hendrickx from Belgium took bronze with 210.42 points and the fifth best short and the fourth best free program. She has changed some music pieces several times during the season and in Saitama used “Poeta” by Roby Facchinetti and “Fallen Angel” by Karl Hugo. Five triple jumps were very good, including a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop at the beginning. But she fell on the second triple Lutz. Two spins were very good, the layback spin and the two step sequences outstanding. Her components were around 8.8.

She explained, “I really enjoyed the audience and the atmosphere here. Despite the fall on the Lutz, I think I had a real strong program and I’m satisfied with it. It was a stupid mistake on the Lutz because I slipped off my arm. Usually I jump with two arms up, but this time I didn’t grip my wrists good enough and I think that was the reason for the fall. To earn a second World medal for Belgium and myself is just an amazing feeling. I already know Kaori for so many years. I think to compete with her is just an amazing feeling. I think she has so much speed through the programs; the jumps are so big. I really admire her. For me the pressure was new this season. It’s amazing to be here in Japan. I think Japanese people are the best fans and to get another opportunity to skate in Japan was just amazing. For me I will do a lot of shows this summer so it’s new and I’m really excited.”

Isabeau Levito of Mount Laurel, NJ, finished on fourth place with 207.65 points. She fell on her opening triple Lutz and could not add a triple loop as planned. Five other triple jumps were good, steps and spins even excellent and her components had an average of 8.6. She said, “I am severely disappointed because I’ve been nailing my Lutz-loop for a really long time and this is the first time I’ve messed it up in a while. But I’m pretty happy with myself for just focusing on making the most out of the rest of the program.”

Mai Mihara from Japan, the 2022 Grand Prix Final Champion, came fifth with 205.70 points. Only three triple jumps were really clean and she fell on the second triple Lutz. Other jumps were under-rotated. Her step sequences were excellent, however.  Chaeyeon Kim from South Korea moved up from 12th place to sixth overall with 203.51 points after performing the third best and clean free program with seven triples.

Nicole Schott from Germany finished seventh with 197.76 points after performing a free program with six clean triples, good spins, very good steps, an elegant style and more confidence than ever. For the first time in her long career she got a standing ovation and two components of 9.0 for presentation, the average was 8.2. She said, “I already felt good during training. I’ve never done two clean programs and this is the best result I’ve ever received in my career. To be able to pull something like this off at a certain age and to show others that, as long you continue, you can reach many things. I really wanted to reach 200 points, just lacking a little, but it’s O.K. The future is open. The situation is not great in terms of finances in the German Federation and we have to see what kind of solutions we have. Otherwise it’s just a very expensive hobby.”

Kimmy Repond from Switzerland is eighth with 194.09 points after a clean program with seven triples. Nina Petrokina from Estonia dropped from sixth to ninth place with 193.49 total points after making several mistakes. But she was happy to be in the Top Ten because this opens a second spot for an Estonian woman next year. Rinka Watanabe from Japan came tenth with 192.81 points after falling on a triple Axel, but landing five good other triples. Nina Pinzarrone from Belgium is 11th in her World debut and a very promising skater for the future.

The second and third U.S. skaters were not very good, therefore the third U.S. spot for next year’s Worlds got lost. Amber Glenn of Colorado Springs placed 12th with 188.33 points. She had several health problems before coming to Japan. She tried the triple Axel again, but under-rotated the jump and almost fell. Three other triples were good, but three more not clean. She said, “Of course the free skate wasn’t what I wanted or what I’ve been training. But I feel that mentally I held myself together.” Bradie Tennell, who trains in France since last summer, dropped from 8th to 15th total spot with 184.14 points after landing five jumps not in a clean way. She plans to stay in France next season.


World Champion Shoma Uno

Men Short Program

The short program of the 34 men who participated in the World Championships 2023 in Saitama, Japan, had a very good level. Shoma Uno from Japan, World Champion 2022, took the lead with 104.63 points, in spite of having some pain in his ankle after a bad fall in training about ten days before. He opened his program to “Gravity” by John Mayer with a very good quad flip, followed by an excellent combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop. His triple Axel was excellent as well. His three spins (all level 4) were outstanding like his step sequence (level 3) for which he got six GOEs of +5 and three GOEs of +4. His components had an average of 9.4, with two 9.75 as highest ones.

He commented, “I think score wise as well as the contents, it wasn’t all that bad. Of course I did have some mistakes in a step and couldn’t get the level (four) I wanted. And for the triple toe (in the combination), I know it turned it into a double, but more than that, through the whole year, I have been working on the short program, there is no regret. But the past few days, of course with the fall in the training, I was in a pretty bad shape for about the past ten days. I was trying to think how I could do that and going into this with a calm mind was not the answer. So I really pushed myself to be motivated and in a fighting mode, and with the strong mind I was able to deliver today so I was more happy than usually.”

U.S. champion Ilia Malinin sits second with 100.38 points after performing a clean short program for the first time this season and getting more than 100 points for the first time. He skated to “I Put a Spell On You” by the Canadian singer Garou and opened the program with a very good combination of quad Lutz and triple toe loop (with both arms over his head), followed by an excellent quad toe loop and a no less impressive triple Axel. A quad Axel is not allowed in the short program as a jump without combination. His spins and his step sequence (all level 4) were very good as well and his components around 8.2.

He said, “I’m very satisfied with my performance. I came here to deliver. I’ve been working the past couple of weeks just performing and grinding this whole time and I’m just very grateful to be here in front of the Japanese audience. I’m so happy that I was able to put out a (clean) performance. I have been practicing these last couple of weeks so hard, and with so much effort so I am really glad I was finally able to pull off this short program. I think it was a good thing that I didn't put all the load on doing a lot of jumps during that time. When I got injured I wasn't able to do a Lutz, we took it out of the program. But I think that when I was finally able to recover and get back to training, we trained it a lot more, so that we can start to notice the consistency with the Lutz.”

Junhwan Cha from South Korea, a student of Brian Orser for many years, came third with a personal best of 99.64 points after using a Michael Jackson medley. His quad Salchow was stellar, his combination of triple Lutz and triple loop excellent, like his triple Axel, his three level 4 spins and his step sequence. His components were around 8.9. He explained, “I'm very happy about my performance, too. I worked really hard towards this World Championship. And I really enjoyed skating today. For the past few seasons, and the beginning of this season, I was really struggling. Even if the training and the practice went well it didn’t come out of the competition.”

Keegan Messing from Canada placed fourth at his last Worlds with 98.75 points to the music “Grace Kelly” by Lebanese-British singer Mika. His combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop was outstanding, his triple Axel and triple Lutz excellent and his three and very fast rotated spins. He said, “I feel incredible to finally pull out the clean short at the World's stage. I have been working for the whole year for this moment. Well, we started off on the right foot here. Not to skate for a medal, but to skate for an experience, and man, that was an experience out there.”

Kevin Aymoz from France is fifth with 95.56 points after performing a showy program. His combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop was a bit tight, but the other six elements at least excellent. His freaky step sequence even had six GOEs of +5. The student of Silvia Fontana in Florida commented, “It was again a difficult season. It’s been two years that I’m fighting and I’ve come to this competition without any goals. It’s my 23rd year of figure skating and I just want to be here and enjoy myself and I’ve no regrets after skating. Worlds in Saitama was my first Worlds four years ago and I was like, “It’s a comeback, comeback today, reborn.”

U.S. Nationals silver medalist Jason Brown, who trains in Toronto, placed sixth with 94.17 points. He no longer tries quads, but his triple Axel was good, his combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop excellent and his triple flip outstanding, like his spins and steps. His change foot combo spin had seven GOEs of +5, his step sequence six. His components were around 9.3. with two perfect 10.0. He said, “This program is all about reflection. The meaning behind it when I was creating it with my choreographer Rohene (Ward) is about the different ways that we reflect. Sometimes it’s about looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re questioning what you’re seeing. And sometimes it’s about taking off a tinted lens and removing that film and seeing it more clearly.”

Kazuki Tomono from Japan finished on seventh place with 92.68 points. His combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop and his triple Axel were excellent, but he fell on the quad Salchow. His components were around 8.7. Daniel Grassl from Italy is eighth with 86.50 points. His quad Lutz was not clean, the other elements good, including a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. But his skating style did not convince the judges very much. Lukas Britschgi from Switzerland placed ninth with 86.18 points after a clean program with quad toe loop and double toe loop. Vladimir Litvintsev from Azerbaijan came tenth with 82.71 points after a faultless program with a quad toe loop. The third U.S. skater Andrew Torgashev ended up 22th with 71.41 points after falling on the quad toe loop and performing an overturned triple flip before the triple toe loop. His triple Axel and one spin were so-so, two spins and the step sequence very good.

Men Free Skate

The men’s free program was the absolute highlight of the whole World Championships 2023. Many skaters gave excellent performances with successful quad jumps. The 19.000 spectators in the huge Super Arena in Saitama were enthusiastic and awarded many standing ovations for very good programs even if the skaters were relatively unknown to most of them.

Local hero Shoma Uno defended his title from last year and won gold again, this time with 301.14 points. He was a bit injured on his landing foot. Skating to sacred music by Johann Sebastian Bach and others in modern versions, he opened his elegant free program with an excellent quad loop, followed by a quad Salchow which was stepped out, a stellar quad flip and a very good triple Axel. Later he had two quad toe loops, both with a q and the second one with a shaky single toe loop. An excellent sequence of triple Axel and double Axel was his last jumping element. His spins and his two step sequences were stellar. The “normal” step sequence even received eight GOEs of +5. The components were around 9.3, with one 9.75 as highest one.

He commented, “I’m just honestly happy about all of this. I did both the short and the free skate better than I expected. Especially for the free skate there were little mistakes here and there but I was able to put on the best performance I could do at this moment. I know I caused a lot of concerns to everyone around me but I was able to pay them back and show my gratitude with my performance today.”

Junhwan Cha from South Korea won a surprising silver medal with 296.03 points, many more than he has ever had. During the pandemic he had stayed and trained in South Korea, either with his childhood coaches or online with his longtime coach Brian Orser. This happened often in the middle of the night for the Canadian coach due to the time change. Skating to a medley of James Bond soundtracks, Cha began with an outstanding quad Salchow, followed by an excellent quad toe loop and a very good combination of triple Lutz and triple loop. Five good or very good triples came later and his choreographic step sequence had six GOEs of +5. His components were around 9.1 with one perfect 10.0 for presentation.

He said, “If I think about World Championships I have always not very good memories, but finally I made a great memory this time. Last season, I had to withdraw because of my skate boots (hook broke). And this season, when I was getting ready for the World Championship, I had to change my skates right before I came here because it broke again. But that kind of experience makes me more improve. I can support what Shoma said that we’re all good friends and as human as a skater, like talking each other. So we’re very like friendly and just what he said like just fighting with me that’s the most important part.”

U.S. Champion Ilia Malinin took the bronze medal with 288.44 points. He used the soundtrack of “Euphoria” by British singer Labrinth. Like usually in this season, he began with his trademark jump, the quad Axel, which he landed a bit shaky, but on one foot. He stepped out of the quad flip, landed a shaky quad Lutz with a q and an excellent quad Salchow. Later his second quad Lutz was under-rotated and first part of a sequence with a triple Salchow. A very good combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop and a good combination of triple Lutz and triple Axe were his last jumps. Because of his concentration on the jumps he had not much time to show more difficult linking steps and therefore his components were only around 8.1.

He commented, “I’m just very grateful for the performance that I was able to put out. I’ve been putting so much work and effort into these past couple of weeks and I’m so glad that I was able to pull it off. With the quad Axel, I’m really honored that I was able to get the 12.86 points here, it means so much to me. It’s really hard to go for a lot of risks but sometimes you get a really good rewards. But I think that maybe sometimes it’s okay to lower the risks and go for a lot cleaner skate. I think that it will be beneficial to lower the standards a bit.”

Kevin Aymoz from France came fourth with 282.97 points. Skating to the soundtrack of “Gladiator”, he opened his program with a good quad toe loop, followed by eight mostly excellent triple jumps. His outstanding and showy choreographic step sequence included several elements which the ISU has allowed only recently, like sideward Saltos and short handstands. After his program he had tears of emotion as usual.

Jason Brown finished on fifth position with 280.04 points. He did not try any quad, but excelled by many other qualities. Seven triple jumps were outstanding, the second triple Axel good. His spins and step sequences were mainly stellar as well and his elegance and harmony unique. Therefore he had the highest components of the whole field with an average of 9.6 and six perfect 10.0, five of them for presentation.

He commented, “I’m so happy about today’s performance. I did the best I could to just stay in the moment and stay grounded. I just soaked in the energy of this arena and the people here, it’s been so special. I’ve been now in Japan for three weeks and it was like home. And so I’m just so happy to be out there. I didn’t think at the beginning of the season that I even would be competing this year, so I’m really touched to be here.”

Kazuki Tomono from Japan placed sixth with 273.41 points. He fell on the second quad toe loop but the rest of his program was powerful and clean. Keegan Messing from Canada is seventh with 265.16 in his last World Championship. He started with two excellent quad toe loops, but then popped the triple Axel and fell on the flying sit spin. He said, “I’m a little disappointed with the center section but it’s my final Worlds, for the most part I kept my performance strong. That's my biggest goal for this year.”

Lukas Britschgi from Switzerland placed eighth with 257.34 points. One quad toe loop and seven triples in his clean program were excellent. “It was absolutely amazing to skate in Japan in such a full arena. I’ve never experienced something like this with this size before and it’s just fun. I was exhausted, but the audience gave me enough energy to make it to the end.”

Italian champion Matteo Rizzo is ninth with 256.04 points, but he was not as strong as often before. European champion Adam Siao Him Fa finished on tenth place with  253.11 points, but he made several mistakes. Daniel Grassl from Italy came from Moscow with his new coaches including Eteri Tutberidze, finished 12th with 244.43 points and plans to stay with them. But his small shape crisis is not yet over. The third U.S. skater Andrew Torgashev finished only 21st with 210.59 points because he fell on the downgraded quad toe loop, landed the triple Axel on two feet and stepped out of the triple flip. Six other triple jumps were very good, however. He said, “I would have liked better but I’m so grateful to be here. I really enjoyed this experience so for me today it was a good performance and what I was able to manage.”


World Champions Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara

Pairs Short Program

The short program of the pairs had a good level. 23 teams competed, 20 of whom will advance to the free skating, so five groups of four with two ice resurfacings. The Japanese pair of Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara who have trained with Canadian coach Bruno Marcotte for several years in Oakville, Ontario, took a clear lead with 80.72 points. They used the music pieces “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers and “Sweet Hope Walk” by Karl Hugo. Six of their elements were excellent and had mainly GOEs of +4, including a triple throw Lutz. The triple toe loop was good as well. Their components were around 9.0 with some 9.5 as highest ones after showing more emotions than Asian skaters normally show. While sitting in the kiss-and-cry area, Miura saw the result of 80 points on the screen in front of her, stood up, raised her hands and celebrated their points. But the spectators could not see the points yet and laughed.

She commented, “I was simply just happy and my happiness just exploded. I saw the score but I didn’t know that everyone didn't see the score yet, so I was jumping the gun but I didn’t know about that.” Kihara added, “We are glad and relieved to finish our short program today. We were able to deliver everything we have been working on back in Toronto (Oakville). Our goal for this season was to get 80 points in the short program, so we are glad to have achieved our goal at the very end of the season. We really have been having very good practices after Four Continents, so we want to perform just like our practices.

Last year’s World Champions Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier of Irvine, California sit on second place with 74.64 points. Six of their elements were excellent and had mainly GOEs of +4, but Frazier fell on the triple toe loop. They skated to “Separate Ways” by Journey & Steve Parry. Their main coach Todd Sand had a heart attack during Junior Worlds three weeks earlier, but after two weeks in a Calgary hospital he could travel back to a California hospital near his home and his wife Jenni Meno, but he will need many weeks of rehabilitation in California. Instead for him and his wife, their choreographer Shae-Lynn Bourne accompanied them in Japan who had been in Japan anyway for shows.

Frazier, “It was a pleasure to be able to compete again here in Japan. I am happy overall with our fight today. We did a lot of good things that we do at home, and in our day to day training. I am personally disappointed about the jump mistake. It happens, but I expect more of myself, need and should do better on that. But as for everything else, I am very proud of us.” Knierim was asked about the challenges they’ve faced following Todd Sand’s heart attack, “I think it’s a very deep question because Todd’s condition is very serious. So it’s difficult to train when you feel broken inside, when your person is not there. However, that person is the one who instilled fight in us. So we’re able to work hard every day to make him proud.”

Sara Conti & Niccolo Macii from Italy are third at their first Worlds with 73.24 points after competing a clean program to the Tango “Oblivion”. They had trained for a week in Japan before to adapt to the time change. Their triple throw loop was good, their triple Salchow excellent. Their components had an average of 8.2. Conti said in the press conference, “For me, and I think for us, it’s incredible to stay here with these two incredible couples. For us it’s the best short program that we’ve skated ever. We had little mistakes in the throw and in the death spiral, but we’re so happy. The emotions are so high and the nervousness is incredible.” Macii added, “We were happy at the beginning of the season just because we had two Grand Prix assignments. So that was already an achievement for us. And every good competition and every result is a new achievement. Being here today with this small bronze medal is like a dream coming true, so we are really happy about our season.”

Deanna Stellato-Dudek & Maxime Deschamps from Canada are on fourth position with 72.81 points. Their twist and lift were excellent, the other elements good, and they made no mistake. Stellato-Dudek said, “It wasn’t our best performance of the year but it was really strong and had some of our best elements that we’ve performed in the short throughout the year. The ice is a little bit different than what I’m used to - I’ve been over-rotating all of my jumps so I had to make a lot of adjustments on my landings to make sure that I stayed on my feet.”

The U.S. team of Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe of Norwood near Boston is fifth with 70.23 points. Chan landed the triple throw loop on two feet and her triple toe loop was under-rotated, the other elements were good. Chan commented, “I actually felt really good before the performance, I could feel the energy already in my body, ready to give it to everyone.” Howe added, “I always love coming to Japan, the first time was amazing, it was in Sapporo and this time in Tokyo (Saitama). It is amazing, I love absorbing the culture, especially being half Japanese.”

Lia Pereira & Trennt Michaud from Canada are currently sixth with 65.31 points. This is only their third international competition, but they are very promising. All elements were clean, including a good triple toe loop. Alisa Efimova & Ruben Blommaert from Germans are on seventh place with 65.23 points. Efimova fell on the (under-rotated) triple toe loop, but the other elements were very good, the triple throw loop even excellent. Maria Pavlova & Alexei Sviatchenko, competing for Hungary, placed eighth with 64.43 points after making no mistake. The U.S. team of Ellie Kam & Danny O’Shea is ninth with 63.40 points. Their spin was a bit wobbly, but all other elements good. Brooke McIntosh & Benjamin Mimar from Canada are tenth with 63.33 points.

Pairs Free Skate

(24 March 2023)  The pairs free program of Worlds 2023 had a good, but no outstanding level. For the first time in history, a Japanese pair won the gold medal at an ISU World Championships, with 222.16 points, Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara were first at the end although they made two mistakes in the free program. They had been ahead by six points, and the second best free program was enough to win. They skated to “Atlas, Two” by the U.S. music project “Sleeping at Last” and to “Shared Tenderness” by Karl Hugo. Their first three elements were excellent: a triple twist, a jump combination of triple toe loop, double toe loop and double Axel and a difficult Axel lasso lift. But then Miura doubled the Salchow, which he tripled, and later fell on the triple throw loop. All other elements were outstanding, including their triple throw Lutz, like their elegance, their pair skating harmony and emotions. Therefore they had components of around 9.0, with one 9.75 as highest, higher than the U.S. team had. But when they left the ice, Miura cried because she feared she was responsible for missing the title.

Miura commented, “I’m happy that I was able to come back here again, however I showed my weakness and there were a few mistakes which is very regrettable. Having the injury (last summer), I thought I would not be able to come here.” Kihara added, “One week before we left for this competition we had a simulation for the competition at our home rink and coach Meagan was here with her two children, Zoey and Miya, and she encouraged us a lot so we were very happy. This is the first gold medal for Japanese pairs, so with this result, it would be very much appreciated if new boys or girls would want to take on the challenge to start pairs. I hope more pair skaters will increase and in 10 or 20 years, people will look back to this day and say this day was the turning point for the Japanese pair discipline. I know it wasn’t our best free skate, but I told Riku we should be proud of ourselves. I told her to look up at the audience, look at how many people are cheering for us.”

Last year’s World Champions Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier of Irvine, California won the silver medal with 217.48 points and the best free program, although they were not faultless either. Skating to “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles and to “Healed Broken Wings” by Karl Hugo, they opened their free program with a stellar triple twist which even got three GOEs of +5. But then Frazier’s jump combination was not triple toe loop, double toe loop and another double toe loop which Knierim did. The landing of his first toe loop was shaky and he could add only a single one after performing  a double toe loop as third jump. Later Knierim stepped out of the triple Salchow, but all other elements were excellent, including the triple throw loop, the triple throw flip and the three lifts. Their components were around 8.8.

Frazier said, ”I’m very proud of Alexa’s and my passion and the way we performed both programs. We had some mistakes and of course we always want to do better but, overall, I’m very fulfilled and proud of the fight we showed this week. We absolutely love performing in Japan, whether it’s competing or shows. The crowd is awesome and we felt so much love and support from them.” Knierim added, “This whole week, this whole time, this program, it was all for our coach (who had a heart attack on March 2). Figure skating in general, but specifically pair skating – it takes a long time to understand how to do it and become good at it. The support and guidance we’ve received from our federation to keep staying committed and pursuing our dreams has propelled us forward. If you look at our journeys individually, it’s been a very long journey. So yes, Brandon and I have teamed up and it’s been three short seasons, but it’s from the years and the time and trust we’ve put into it (with previous partnerships). And I think that’s what our younger skaters need to understand and focus on as they develop – that it’s going to take a while.”

Sara Conti & Niccolo Macii from Italy won the bronze medal with 208.08 points in their very first World championships and it was the first World medal in pairs for Italy. Skating to the soundtrack of “Cinema Paradiso”, they made no serious mistake and most elements were good or very good. Macii only overturned the first double Axel in their jump combination or triple toe loop and two double Axels. Their components had an average of 8.5 and like the Japanese pair, they got a standing ovation.

Macii explained, “We shared the podium even in the Grand Prix Final, so we are really happy to be here with them. The skate today was not our best, our legs were stiff, and we were really tense. We felt that we could have lost third place, but we fought, and we are very happy how we fought for it. It's a great achievement for our nation, for our team. I think this gives a lot of push to the Italian movement, even for the kids. For us it's the first time in Japan, so it's an amazing experience. When we finished it, I was trying to breathe after the program and Sara was talking to me so I turned around and saw all these people standing around us.”

Deanna Stellato-Dudek & Maxime Deschamps from Canada finished on fourth position with 199.97 points in their first Worlds. Most elements were good, the lifts and twist even excellent, but Stellato-Dudek fell on the triple Salchow which he doubled. And Deschamps stepped out of the double toe loop of their jump combination. She said, “It was pretty rough, not a great performance for us, we are pretty disappointed. I didn't really want to end my season like this again.”

The second U.S. pair of Emily Chan & Spencer Akira Howe came fifth with 194.73 points, also in their first World Championship. Chan fell on the double Axel of their combination, she doubled the toe loop, which he performed with three rotations. She landed the triple throw loop on two feet, but all other elements were good. Lia Pereira & Trennt Michaud from Canada finished on sixth position with the fourth best free skate and 193.00 total points. Except from her almost falling on the triple Salchow and him stepping out, they performed a clean program with many very good elements. Maria Pavlova & Alexi Sviatchenko, skating for Hungary, are seventh with 190.67 points. They had many very good elements, but their components were relatively low.

Anastasia Golubeva & Hektor Giotopoulos Moore from Australia are eighth with 189.47 points after executing the fifth best free program with excellent throws and only one mistake. Annika Hocke & Robert Kunkel from Germany finished ninth with 184.60 points with an almost faultless free program. The second German pair of Alisa Efomiva & Ruben Blommaert sits tenth with 184.46 points. The third U.S. pair of Ellie Kam & Danny O’Shea ended up twelfth with 175.59 points. Kam fell on the triple Salchow and during the beginning steps of the death spiral, the other elements were at least good.

Ice Dance

World Champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates

Rhythm Dance

The Rhythm Dance of the 33 ice dance couples, 20 of whom reached the final, had an excellent level. Madison Chock & Evan Bates took the lead with 91.94 points. Dancing to two Sambas and one Rhumba from “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie in a Remix by Ben Liebrand, they began their routine with an outstanding twizzle sequence (level 4 for both skaters) which had four GOEs of +5. Next was an excellent midline step sequence (also level 4 for both) which had GOEs of +4 from all nine judges. The stellar pattern dance type step sequence had a level 3, the curve lift (level 4) had two GOEs of +5 and the level-free choreographic rhythm sequence had five GOEs of +5. Their components had an average of 9,7, with mainly 9.75, but nobody had a 10.0.

Chock commented, “It was an incredible energy in the arena today. Looking around and seeing all the thousands and thousands of fans that came out to support us and cheer us on was just breathtaking and magical. It was such an honor to perform in front of that audience – they really propelled us through the program and gave us so much energy. Having a big training group (in Montreal) that you train with regularly and the strong support system of coaches is integral to longevity, success and the happiness that you feel every day.” Bates added, “The World Championships seem to be very competitive across all disciplines.”

Charlène Guignard & Marco Fabbri from Italy sit second with 88,21 points. They danced to a Samba and a Rhumba by Grace Jones and the Salsa “Cuba” by the Gibson Brothers. They were the only team to get a level 4 for the pattern dance type step sequence and had mainly level 4 for the other elements, but their GOEs were a bit lower than those of the Americans. They performed a new lift. Their components were around 9.3. Fabbri commented, “As Madison said, it was a great crowd today, it was a great atmosphere, so skating has been pretty easy for us tonight. We can say that sharing your everyday practices with somebody makes it much easier. When we started skating together, we were basically alone because we were almost the first couple Barbara (Fusar Poli) had.”

Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier from Canada placed third in the Rhythm Dance with 87.34 points. It was their first competition after the Grand Prix Final in December because Gilles had an appendectomy surgery in December and they could not train for several weeks. Their levels were a bit lower (midline steps level 3 and pattern dance sequence level 2), but their GOEs was mainly +4 and some +5 and their components were around 9.5. Poirier stated, "I think continuing to applaud the amazing crowds that we had today, I think just performing today is so special and so much fun as it is special with the view. Like clapping rhythms where all of the programs were so much fun. I couldn’t practice, especially after not competing in three months. It just so nice to be back out of competition ice. So while we haven’t competed in a while we also had more opportunities to get some rest since the Grand Prix.”

Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson from Great Britain came fourth with 86.56 points. Dancing to a Merengue by Marc Anthony and two Chachas by Jennifer Lopez, they also had five excellent elements with mainly GOEs of +3 and +4 and their components were around 9.2. Fear said, “It was everything we wanted, we wanted to put out our best rhythm dance of the season, we did exactly what we trained, and regardless of where we are and all the pressure that comes with that, we delivered. We’ve competed a lot this season and this was the longest chunk of time we had at home to just train, and we really wanted to make the most of that and gain momentum coming into Worlds.”

Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Soerensen took fifth place with 85.59 points. Their five elements mainly had GOEs of +3, their levels were high as well and their components around 9.2. Soerensen said, “The crowd is just amazing. Getting standing ovations, show dances are always fun, see the all Canadian flags, just really try to be what we achieve this season, and so grateful to be here.”

The second U.S. team of Caroline Green & Michael Parsons, who had won Four Continents in February, finished on sixth position with 78.74 points. They had the same levels as Gilles & Poirier and five very good elements, but their GOEs were mainly +2 and +3 and their components around 8.6. Parsons explained, “I feel like I’m living like a dream right now. This is my first Worlds, it’s in Japan and we just skated the best we possibly could. I’m so happy what we’ve done with our coaches. I’m really, really proud with how we skated today. We’ve changed probably 75 % of our entire rhythm dance after Four Continents. That was definitely our best skate of the season.”

Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevicius from Lithuania, who train in Montreal, are seventh with 78.70 points. They had five very good elements and components of around 8.4. Reed said, “For me it’s very special here in Japan, my mother is from here and it’s part of who I am and it’s really special to skate on the ice that my siblings competed in.” Juulia Turkkila  & Matthias Versluis from Finland came eighth with 76.97 points. Their twizzles were a bit shaky, but the other elements very good and their components around 8.5. Turkkila stated, “It was not the easiest program, feeling wise. But the atmosphere was so great. Help to push true.”

The Czech brother and sister team of Natalie Taschlerova & Filip Taschler are currently on ninth place with 76.56 points. They had only a level 1 on the pattern step sequence, but presented all five elements very well and in an unusually high speed. Taschler said, “We had the first time in our lives standing ovation, so it means a lot. Natalie told me in the end, “Look they are standing!”, and then I started to cry a little bit, it was amazing.”

The third U.S. team of Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko sit tenth with 75.24 points. They came as alternates for Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker who pause at the moment. Carreira & Ponomarenko train with Scott Moir in London, Ontario, had good levels, five very good elements with mainly GOEs of +2 and components of around 8.1. Carreira said, “We’re really happy with how today went and I think probably the best performance of the season.”

Kana Muramoto & Daisuke Takahashi from Japan came 11th with 72.92 points. Takahashi, who had been men’s world champion in 2010, admitted he lost count on the twizzles and made one turn more than Muramoto, but the rest was good.

Free Dance

The Free Dance at the World Championships 2023 in Saitama had a high level, and the 19,000 spectators gave many standing ovations, but no couple had any component of 10.0. Madison Chock and Evan Bates are the new World Champions with 226.01 points. All their elements were outstanding, but they had a short fall near the end in a linking step. Dancing to “Souffrance” by the French band “Orange Blossoms” and to “Les Tectoniques” by Quebec singer Jorane, they had chosen to perform one combination of two curve lifts and one short lift instead of three short lifts. The combination lift and the straight line lift had mainly GOEs of +4. All level elements had a level 4. The choreographic spinning movement and the dance spin had seven GOEs of +5. Their components had an average of 9.5 with many 9.75. After their Grand Prix which were not so successful, they had changed the whole concept of the free dance and it looked more convincing now.

Chock said, “It feels like this has been a really big goal for us for such a long time and it's such an incredible experience to have accomplished this goal here in Saitama amongst the incredible crowd. And today especially they were literally to the roof of the arena. It was incredible to look up and see everyone supporting us all and cheering us on. This season has certainly unfolded in many unpredictable ways, but all paths seemingly have led to this moment. We learned a lot this season about ourselves, about we want to accomplish and what it takes to achieve that. We really had to dig very, very deep many times this year. That little blip in the middle was so fast and so unexpected I surprised myself. I was really enjoying every second of being out on the ice with Evan and our connection and our training has led us to recover quickly so it was a very small blip in what was otherwise a very fun and emotional performance.” Bates added, “We haven't really made an official decision about next season, we are planning to do World Team Trophy and to do some shows this spring and summer.”

Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri from Italy won the silver medal with 219.85 points. Their one foot turns sequence had a level 3 for both partners, all other level elements had a level 4. All elements were excellently executed and GOEs of +4 dominated, four of them had some GOEs of +5. Their components were also around 9.5. Their music pieces were “My Love Will Never Die” by Claire Wyndham, the soundtrack of “Mephisto’s Lullaby” by Yair Albeg Wein & Or Kribos and “Eden” by Spanish-Mexican pop singer Belinda. Fabbri commented, “This medal for us means so much, it’s an incredible reward for many years of hard work, of difficult moments, ups and downs. We still have to process this moment because we still can't believe that we achieved this silver medal here at Worlds but it feels really great. After World Team Trophy we're going to have some rest, we will think about many things and then we'll take a decision.”

Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier from Canada won the bronze medal with 217.88 points. During the Grand Prix, they looked like future world champions. But after the Grand Prix Final, which they won, they had to pause for more than two months because Gilles had to undergo appendectomy surgery. The students of Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs danced to the soundtrack of “Evita” about the life of former Argentinian president Evita Peron and her boyfriend Che Guevara.  Their components were also around 9.5 and the majority of their elements had GOEs of +4. Gilles said, “I think we're really proud of ourselves after a performance like that. We really didn't know what to expect after a couple of months being off. The moment we stepped on the ice even yesterday and today we just felt really calm and we did everything that we could to be here in this moment. It really helped to have a crowd again.”

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson from Great Britain finished on fourth place with 214.73 points after being sixth last year. They train in the Ice Acedemy of Montreal, they chose two songs of Lady Gaga dancing in a very modern way. Their elements also had more GOEs of +4 than +3, their choreographic character steps even seven GOEs of +5 and their components around 9.3. Fear explained, “It was so much fun. The balance between being focused on our job and also letting in the amazing experience and it felt like we did both and really had a blast especially in the choreographic steps. I’m so overwhelmed right now, we had a beautiful experience here.” Gibson added, “Getting a standing ovation in both programs was just out of this world.”

Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Soerensen from Canada had represented Denmark until January 2018, but then switched to Canada because Fournier Beaudry could not get Danish citizenship which she would have needed for the Olympic Games. They were ninth at the Games of 2022 for Canada and came fifth in Saitama with 214.04 points with the fourth best free dance to a medley of Mexican and Western soundtracks. Their choreographic character steps had eight GOEs of +5, the other elements mainly +3 and +4 and the components around 9.4.

The second U.S. team of Caroline Green & Michael Parsons placed sixth at their first world championships with 201.44 points. Dancing to “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, they also had only excellent elements with mainly GOEs of +3, a bit lower levels and components of 8.9. Parsons stated, “It felt amazing. All the credit goes to our coaching team for having us super prepared. Both days here we just got on the ice and did our jobs to the best of our ability.”

Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevicius from Lithuania, who train in Montreal and skated to “Insomnia” by “Faithless”, are seventh with 199.20 points. All their elements were excellent as well and had mainly GOEs of +3, the non-level choreographic elements even had some +5. Reed, who is American, said, “The audience was really in it from the start and that gives some extra boost for the whole program and it’s great to start off that way and we really felt it today. The lift to start is the hardest element we have, so once that’s out of the way, we’re like, “YES!”

Nathalie Taschlerova & her brother Filip Taschler from the Czech Republic finished on eighth place with 196.39 points. Their elements were mainly rewarded with GOEs of +3 and their components were around 8.6. European bronze medalists Juulia Turkkila & Matthias Versluis from Finland placed ninth with 193.54 points. They danced in an elegant way which make elements look easy. Both skaters stumbled a bit on the twizzle sequence, but the other elements were excellent.

The third U.S. team Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko train in London, Ontario and finished tenth with 190.10 points. They danced to the soundtrack of “Backbone” and to “Summertime” by George Gershwin. Their elements had GOEs of mainly +2 and +3 and their components were around 8.3. Carreira said, “I think it was our best one all season – maybe one of the best times we’ve ever skated – so we’re really proud of what we put out this week.”

Interview with Sophia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev, 2023 World Junior Pair Champions

Interview with Emily Chan and Spencer Howe


2023 World Junior Figure Skating Championships

Calgary, Canada

Text by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

The 2023 ISU World Junior Championships took place in the Winsport Arena in Calgary which has around 3,000 seats and is situated about eight miles west of downtown. Calgary is Alberta’s biggest and a fast growing city of almost 1.5 million people and is the center of the Canadian oil industry.

The Arena is situated in a huge multisport center which was built in 2011-2013 near the ski jump venue in the Olympic park which were used during the Calgary Olympic Games of 1988. The whole area is called Olympic Park.

There are four ice rinks in this building. Like during the whole season, skaters competing for Russia were banned, but a number of Russians or former Russians took part who competed for other countries.

The number of spectators was disappointing. During the week about 200 per day and on the weekend around 500, thought the women's final drew nearly 700.  There were also a large number of credentialed persons in the audience, for perhaps and additional 100 spectators, with athletes from many teams cheering on their conpatriots.

Japan won two gold medals, the USA and the Czech Republic one each.


The men’s event at Junior Worlds 2023 in Calgary had a good, but not outstanding level. 42 young men competed. 17-year-old Kao Miura from Japan trains in Yokohama near Tokyo and won the event with 264.74 points and a huge distance of 44 points to the rest of the field. He had been fifth at the Grand Prix Final in December and won the Four Continents Championship in February. In Calgary, he opened the short program to two tangos by Astor Piazzolla with an excellent triple loop, followed by an impressive triple Axel. In his combination, the triple toe loop after the triple flip was a bit shaky. Quads are not allowed in a junior’s short program. The three level 4 spins were good, the step sequence very good and the components around 8.1.  He commented, “All season long I've been skating the programs with the senior program requirements and because of the junior requirements being different, I was nervous for all the elements. But somehow I managed it and so I'm really happy about that.”

His free program to the soundtrack of “The Beauty and the Beast” got 38 more points than the second best free program. His first element was an outstanding combination of triple Axel, Euler and triple Salchow, followed by a deeply landed quad toe loop and a very good quad Salchow. The second triple Axel and the second quad toe loop (with a triple toe loop) were excellent, a triple flip as well, he only stepped out of the triple loop near the end.  His spins and step sequences were good and his components had an average of 8.4. He said, “Today I was able to get a pretty good performance. Especially in the second half of the program I was able to land the combination of the quad & triple. I would like to be able to participate next season in the Senior World Championships and really bring up the level of my performances. Having become the Four Continents champion added a lot of pressure for me coming into this competition.”

The silver medal for 16-year-old Naoki Rossi from Switzerland, winning 220.68 points, was a big surprise. He has Japanese and Swiss parents and trains now in Egna, Northern Italy, in the school of Lorenzo Magri. Several Swiss skaters have improved much this season because they could take profit from the pandemy. All Swiss rinks had been closed for the public and for hobby skaters for months. But skaters of the national team were allowed to train and had much more training time than before. Rossi performed his short program to three flamenco-style music pieces by Ikuko Kawai. After a good triple Axel, his triple loop was O.K. and his combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop a bit wobbly. His spins and his step sequence were excellent, his components were around 7.3. He explained, “I'm really glad with my program. Never ever in a million years have I ever thought that I was going to be third. Last year I missed a (jump) combo and lost lots of points and I was really devastated after the short program. I especially worked on condition training.”

He opened his free program to three pieces of “Eternal Eclipse” with a good combination of triple Axel and double toe loop, followed by a second triple Axel. Four other clean triples came later and the loop was double. He only got an edge call on the triple flip. Two of the three spins were excellent and he really interpreted the music very well and had components of 7.6. Later he stated, “I'm actually really speechless right now. I never expected to be on the podium. I'm very glad about my performance today. Well I could have maybe done it a little better since I popped a loop today, but I still focused on the next jump and never gave up until the end of the program. When I realized I was on the podium in the kiss and cry I got a bit emotional.”

The second Japanese Nozomu Yoshioka won bronze with 217.79 points after being seventh in a clean short program with excellent triple Axel, good triple loop, very good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, but less convincing spins and not much interpretation. In his free program to “Pirates of the Caribbean”, his combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop was almost clean, but he stepped out of the second quad toe loop. Four other triples were clean and the flip got an edge call. He explained, “Today in my performance I was able to get very tight rotations on all of my jumps until the end. But I did make many small and costly mistakes so that was a little bit disappointing. But this result at such a very big competition is very satisfying to me.”

Italian skater Nikolaj Memola finished on fourth position with 216.44 points. His triple Axel and his triple loop in the Rakhmaninov short program were very good, but in his combination he almost fell on the triple toe loop after performing the triple Lutz. In his free program, four triples were good, but he doubled the first Axel which was planned triple, fell on the second triple Axel and the last three triples were technically not perfect. He is Italian alternate for Senior Worlds and the World Team Trophy, therefore he has to stay in shape.

Wesley Chiu from Canada came fifth with 213.88 points. His triple loop, triple Axel and spins in the short program were excellent, but he touched down on the triple Lutz in his combination. In the free program, he dropped from second to fifth place because he popped the two planned quad toe loops and stepped out of the triple Axel. Hyungyeom Kim from South Korea placed sixth with 213.56 points. In the short program, the triple Axel and the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop were good, but the loop got a q. In the free program, only three triples were good, but four other either had a q or were stepped out.

U.S. skater Lucas Broussard of Seattle finished seventh with 209.47 points. In the short program to a piano version of the Tango Adios Nonino, he stepped out of the triple Axel and touched down, the other elements were very good. In the free program, he went down on the quad toe loop and the triple Axel. His camel spin got no points, but five triples were good, the choreographic steps even outstanding. Yudong Chen from China is eighth with 205.12 points. His triple Axel in the short program was good, but he fell on the triple Lutz and therefore had no combination. He began his free program with a very good quad Salchow, but missed the quad toe loop and the triple Salchow of his combination with a triple flip and an Euler.

Arlet Levandi from Estonia came ninth with 204.73 points. He has no triple Axel, but his double Axel in the short program was excellent. He stepped out of the triple loop, but because of his excellent choreography he had the third highest components and in the free even the second highest components of around 7.7. The second American Daniel Martynov of Coral Springs, Florida, came tenth with 204.67 points. His short program was faultless with a good triple Axel and he had also two good triple Axels in his free program, but the other triples were not as good. The third U.S. skater Michael Xie of Oakland, California did not reach the final. Instead, he ended up only 34th with 53.46 points after falling on the triple Axel, again on the triple loop and stepping out of the triple Lutz in his combination.


The ice dance competition of Junior Worlds in Calgary, Alberta, had a good level although nobody was outstanding. 30 couples competed, 20 of whom reached the free dance. There were only two falls in the Rhythm Dance and one in the free dance.

The gold medal winners Katerina Mrazkova (16) & Daniel Mrazek (19) made history because they were the first Czech ice dance team ever to win a medal at an ISU championships. They collected 177.36 points and had taken a narrow lead in their dynamic Rhythm Dance to the Tango “A Evaristo Carriego” and to the Paso Doble “Espana Cani”. They were the only team to meet all eight key points in the two Tango sections. The rotational lift was excellent and had a level 4 and in their good twizzle sequence she had level 3 and he level 4. In their midline step sequence, she had level 3 and he level 2. Their components were around 7.9. Mrazek commented, “There were some mistakes but it was still great performance so we're happy.”

In their free dance to the soundtrack of “The Man In the Iron Mask”, the brother-and-sister team excelled again by their high speed and expansive steps. All eight elements of the students of young Italian coach Matteo Zanni, who works with them mainly in Bolzano in Northern Italy, were excellent and had mainly GOEs of +3 and +4. Three level elements had a 4 for both dancers, the three others a 3 for both and their components were around 8.3, with one first 9.0 in their career for skating skills. They are ice dancers only for two and a half years and rose very quickly to a top team.

Mrazek had competed at two Junior Grand Prix in singles in 2018 and commented, “The rhythm dance for us was not so great because we were nervous, we scared to do a mistake. So we tried to be more chill in the free dance and I think we did it better today. We started single skating when we were young - our coach was our mom. We were no really good jumpers, but our mother taught us how to skate very well. I had an injury and realized that I would not be the best in single skating anymore. So I decided to start an ice dance career. I asked my sister if she wanted to skate with me and she said yes.” When he said that everybody in the press conference room around laughed because it sounded as if he had asked her to marry him. Mrazkova added, “We always wanted to have a gold medal from Junior Worlds -- it was one of our goals. We plan to move up to seniors.”

Canadians Hannah Lim & Ye Quan, skating for South Korea, the former home country of their parents, won silver with 174.39 points and are the first South Korean ice dancers to win a medal at an ISU championships. They train in the Ice Academy in Montreal. In their Rhythm Dance to the Milonga “Primavera Portena”, they had a level 4 for four elements and a level 2 for the first tango section. Their components were around 7.8. Lim explained, “We were able to achieve our goals that we set. We connected really well and we performed to the audience, which is really fun for a tango program.”

In their free dance to the classical “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens, most elements were excellent and had GOEs of mainly +3. The one foot turn sequence was good and their components around 8.0. Lim said, “I'm really proud that we were able to work super hard the whole season and at the end, when we were able to get a medal, it was just a celebration. I'm really glad that we were able to get our first medal for Korea. My parents are both Korean and when they first asked me if I wanted to represent Korea I wanted to as a thank you present for them because of all the support that they put into skating and it was not easy. We're a bit nervous to go to seniors because we have a lot of amazing senior skaters in our school, but we have to move. We can look up to them - they're always pushing us.”

Nadiia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont from the school of Carol Lane in Scarborough near Toronto, Canada, took bronze with 169.13 points. In the Rhythm Dance to the Spanish Waltz “Espana” and the “Tango Grande” from the film “The Great Gatsby”, three elements had a level 4 and the two Argentine Tango sections levels 1 and 2. The twizzles and the rotational lift were excellent, the other elements good and the components had an average of 7.8. In their free dance to “The Red Violin” and to “Oh Sweet Springtime From Long Ago” by Jules Massenet, they moved up from fourth to third place with very good elements and components of around 7.8. A highlight was their outstanding combination lift for which they earnt 13.78 points. They will age out of Juniors and Beaumont said, “I am getting old, but I'm looking forward to a bit of Samba and '80s music next year.”

Phebe Bekker & James Hernandez from Britain train with Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland in Aston, Pennsylvania. They finished fourth with 169.07 points, just .06 points behind the bronze medal. In the Rhythm Dance to two Flamencos and one Tango, they had high levels and met seven of the eight key points of the two Tango sections. Their components were around 7.6. In their free dance to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, they had good levels again. But the excellent lift combination was more than 12 seconds long and cost them bronze because one point has to be deducted for an extended lift. Their luggage with their skates had not arrived with them. Therefore they missed some practice. They will also move up to seniors.

Leah Neset & Artem Markelov of Colorado Springs are the best U.S. team placing fifth with 162.59 points. The students of Elena Dostatni had mixed levels and performed five good elements in the Rhythm Dance to Flamenco, Tango and Paso Doble. In their free dance to the soundtrack of “Pirates of the Caribbean”, they moved up from seventh to fifth place, performing very good elements. Their highlights were the choreographic sliding movement and the choreographic character step sequence. Celine Fradji & Jean-Hans Fourneaux from France came sixth with 156.92 points. Their Rhythm Dance had outstanding twizzles, but in the free dance, their levels were lower.

Sandrine Gauthier & Quentin Thieren from Canada and the academy of Montreal placed seventh with 156.65 points after performing eight good elements in the free dance. Canada may send three teams to next year’s Junior Worlds again.

The second U.S. team of Jenna Hauer & Benjamin Starr of Simsbury, Connecticut, came eighth with 154.12 points and helped to allow the USA to send three dance teams to Junior Worlds 2024 in Taipeh. The third U.S. team of Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi of Marina Zueva’s school in Estero, Florida, finished on ninth position with 149.87 points, ahead of Angelina Kudriavtseva & Ilia Karankevich who skate for Cyprus, left Russia in December and now train in Italy.

Darya Grimm & Michail Savitskiy from Germany performed a very good Rhythm  Dance and finished there on sixth place. But the next day Grimm had a stomach virus with fever and they had to withdraw.

Sofiia Beznosikova & Max Archadi Brunovitch Leleu, who compete for Belgium, had big travel problems because Beznosikova is Russian and got a visa for Canada only in the last minute. She arrived from Israel in Calgary after four flights and just three hours before the Rhythm Dance. But they did not qualify for the free dance.


(4 March 2023) The women’s event of the 2023 Junior Worlds had a high level, even without Russian competitors. All six top skaters come from East Asia, the best European woman was seventh and the best North America eighth. 47 skaters competed.

14-year-old Mao Shimada from the school of Mie Hamada in Kyoto, Japan, celebrated a run-away victory with 224.54 points, 18 years after her idol Mao Asada, whom her parents named her after, had won Junior Worlds also in Canada, in Kitchener, Ontario. In a close decision with a distance to .59 points to the second placed South Korean skater Jia Shin, Shimada won the short program. She skated to the soundtrack of “Lion King” and fought like a lioness. Triple Axels and quads are not allowed in junior ladies short programs. Therefore Shimada’s and all top skaters’ most difficult element was a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, in Shimada’s case very good, like her required triple loop and the double Axel. The layback spin was outstanding (eight GOEs of +4) and the stellar change foot combination spins had even six GOEs of +5. The remaining two elements were excellent and her components 7.8.

She commented, “In practice my jumps were not going well, but today during the warm up I felt my body was moving well. I really worked hard on the elements, other than the jumps, to be able to do them more beautifully. I’m trying hard, so people can see the lioness in me. I’ve worked on my expression and to maximize each element. As this is my last time performing this SP I wanted to give it my all and I think I did that! My favorite scene of the “Lion King” is when Rafiki holds up Simba. I hope people see me as a lioness as I try to represent it in my program.”

Performing to “Passepied” by Jean-Michel Blais and to “Wild Swans Suite” by Daniel Hope, she opened her spectacular free program with an excellent triple Axel, followed by the only quad toe loop of the day which got a q for being nearly under-rotated. Seven other very good triples and outstanding spins followed, plus an impressive choreographic step sequence. Her components were around 8.5. She said, “This medal is full of emotions, I felt a lot of happiness after landing the triple Axel and quad toe, but I told myself there was a lot of difficulties still to come and I had to concentrate. There were many competitions where I couldn’t land these jumps in the past and that scared me. But it was never an option for me not to do it.” Because of the new age rules, she is not allowed to move to seniors until after the next Olympic Games.

Jia Shin from South Korea won the silver medal with 201.90 points. Her short program to “The Giving” by Michael Smith with the same excellent elements as Shimada was flawless as well. Her GOEs were just a little bit lower, but her components even a bit higher. She explained, “I was nervous today, but I tried to pull out my confidence and to do my best so I feel very happy it went well. After Nationals I had a small ankle injury and I was off the ice for a week. What I most like are the jumps because the feeling of achievement when I succeed each jump makes me very happy.” In her free routine to the “Trees of Life” suite by Roberto Cacciapaglia, she had seven triples, mostly very good, but no triple Axel and no quad. Her only mistakes was a small fall on a step right after the choreographic sequence. Her components were around 7.7. She said, “I’m happy to win another medal at Junior Worlds. I felt David Wilson's choreography style fits my skating and my choreography ability, therefore I worked with him. My most memorable competition was the Junior Grand Prix Final -- I was able to deliver two clean programs. For next season I want to conquer my weaknesses.”

Ami Nakai from Chiba in Japan won the bronze medal with 197.40 points. Skating the same short program elements as the top two skaters, her GOEs were mainly +2 and +3 and she made no mistake either. She interpreted “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin. She said, “I did a clean short program, and so I’m very happy with my performance. I worked to get my jumps consistent and to have more flow in my skating. What I really enjoy the most is performing freely in front of a lot of people. My strength would be giving a lot of expression in my steps.” In her free program to “Miss Saigon” by Claude-Michel Schoenberg, she fell on the triple Axel, but all seven other triple jumps were impressive, her spins and chore step sequence as well. She commented, “I was happy to get a medal on this big stage. When I was attempting my triple Axel I was able to tighten my arms and I thought I was doing it exactly the same as usual, but somehow I missed the landing.”

Yujae Kim from South Korea placed fourth with 193.62 points. In her short program, she performed the same elements as the top three skaters, but a bit less strong. Her triple loop got a q and her components were around 7.0. She opened her free program to a strange soundtrack of “Aida” by Elton John with an excellent triple Axel, followed by five good other triples and a triple loop which was a bit under-rotated. The spins were good, the choreographic steps excellent. Minsol Kwon, also from South Korea, finished on fifth position with 191.06 points. Her triple flip in the short program got a q, everything else was very good. In her free program, six triples were good, only the triple Lutz got an edge call. Xianhyi An from China is sixth with 183.94 points. Her short program with a combination of two triple toe loops was faultless, but in her free program four triples were not clean. She said that her initial goal was to reach to top 24, so this result is beyond her imagination. She also practices gymnastics.

Kimmy Repond from Switzerland, who had been third at Europeans in January, is seventh with 180.32 points after being tenth in the short program. There, three jumps were more or less under-rotated, because she had been a bit sick before. But in the free program, six of her triple jumps were at least good, only the triple Lutz got an edge call. She rotates extremely quickly.

The best U.S. skater was Clare Seo of Colorado Springs who came eighth with 172.62 points. The student of Tammy Gambill skated a double Lutz instead of a planned triple one as first part of her combination and almost fell on the triple toe loop. The other elements were good. Four triple jumps in her free program were good, but both triple flips were not and she explained, “I have a few regrets about the program, but I am happy I didn’t fall.” Inga Gurgenidze from Georgia is ninth with 172.50 points after landing two triple Axels in the free and moving up from 19th place. Kaya Ruiter from Canada finished tenth with 169.65 points.

The two other U.S. skaters did not have good days. Soho Lee of Anaheim, California is 15th with 149.16 points after falling on the loop in the short program and under-rotating two more jumps. In her free program she made five mistakes. Josephine Lee of Lakewood, California, ended up 19th with 138.22 points. In her short program she fell on the triple flip and therefore had no combination. In her free, six of the seven jump elements went wrong.


(3 March 2023) 14 pairs competed at Junior Worlds 2023 in Calgary. The general level was mixed.  Only two pairs had more than 170 points and five more than 150.

During the championships the ISU organized a small pair coach meeting to discuss the age problem which three pairs at Junior Worlds (the winners from the USA, the Japanese and one German pair) will have next season, and potentially a few others.

This problem occurred becausethe ISU raised the required minimum age of girls for seniors at the ISU congress 2022, decided mainly because of the Valieva case. This new rule said that from the 2023/24 season on girls may skate in seniors only if they have their 16th birthday before July 1, 2023 and in the season 2024/25 only if they have their 17th birthday before July 1 2024. But the maximum age for junior men in pairs is 21 at these dates. If the men are older, they are no longer allowed to skate in juniors and the girls are too young to skate in seniors This would mean the pairs with conflicting dates cannot skate internationally at all.

But the ISU needs more pairs. Therefore some federations  could ask the ISU council, which meets almost every month, to allow those pairs who have done international junior competitions this season to continue provisionally in juniors next season even if the man is too old, and the next congress in 2024 could be asked to decide to raise the age limit for junior men in pairs from 21 to 23 years and for women in pairs from 19 to 21 years.

In the meantime, the resolution for the affected teams is yet to be decided.

New Junior World Champions with 184.47 points is the U.S. team of Sofia Baram & Daniel Tioumentsov from the school of Jenni Meno and Todd Sand in Irvine, California. They had been second in the Junior Final in December and fourth at U.S. senior Nationals. They had to skate their free program under difficult circumstances because in the night between the short and the free program coach Todd Sand had a heart attack in his hotel room and had to be transported to a hospital in Calgary around 5 a.m. Sofia Baram’s mother had traveled with the pair. She and the U.S. team leader cared about the pair in the morning practice and the free program.

In their faultless short program to “Bla Bla Bla, Cha Cha Cha” by the Japanese women duo Petty and Booka (which is often used in ice dance), their triple twist, their reverse lasso loop lift and their step sequence (all with level 4) were excellent. The double Axel and the triple throw toe loop were very good, the required backward inside death spiral and the side by side spin good. Their components were around 7.0 and they had 66.95 points, six more than the French pair on second place. “We're so proud we've accomplished the throw triple toe loop in our program for the first time, especially in competition,” Tioumentsev said.

In their free program to “Pilgrims On a Long Journey” by Coeur de Pirate and to “Primavera“ by Ludovico Einaudi, their best element was the twist again which had six GOEs of +3 and three of +2. Lifts and step sequence were very good, but Baram stepped out of the triple throw loop and her triple toe loop was a bit shaky. Her difficult jump combination of triple Salchow, double Axel and another double Axel as well as a double throw Lutz were good and their components around 7.2.

Tioumentsov said, “We found out this morning (about Todd Sand being hospitalized). It was a definite down-turn for me and Sophia. We skated for Todd and for everyone that has helped us through the season. It was very hard and we tried to remember what Todd told us – to stay in the moment. And we tried to remember what kind of corrections he gave us. We've been skating together for just over two years now and definitely the gold medal is a huge achievement for us. Even if the age rules don’t change, we plan to stay together and compete nationally.” Baram added, “It is such a good feeling to win. We are sending a lot of prayers to Todd. We love you, Todd.”

Anastasia Golubeva & Hector Giotopoulos Moore from Australia won the silver medal with 170.36 points after winning the Junior Final in December. In their short program to “Architect of the Mind” by Kerry Muzzey, the triple throw toe loop was excellent, five other elements at least good, but they missed the death spiral after he could not skate a correct entrance. He explained, “I feel my heel hit an edge and I slipped off my the edge and couldn't hold it.” In their free program to “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima and to “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald, the two triple throws and the lifts were excellent, five other elements, including a triple Salchow, good and their twist a bit shaky. But Giotopoulos Moore fell on the third part of their jump combination which was planned a triple toe loop, another triple toe loop (which he singled) and a double toe loop. Giotopoulos Moore said, “This is amazing, we couldn’t be happier. I’m still shocked a bit. This is a huge achievement for us and we are very happy. Our next goal is going to Senior Worlds. I think we belong there.”

The Ukrainians Violetta Sierova & Ivan Khobta, who had been ninth at the European (senior) Championships in January, won bronze with 159.39 points. Lift and triple twist were excellent, the other elements good, including the double loop and the double throw Lutz. In their free program, the twist was excellent, most other elements good, only in their jump combination they were a bit out of sync. Khobta commented, “We are excited to represent Ukraine. We feel all the support of the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and that gave us strength.” Sierova added, “I am so happy we did two clean programs.” After the beginning of the war last year they had fled with their coach from their country to Germany and will train for Senior Worlds there. In the last two weeks they had prepared for Junior Worlds with Bruno Marcotte in Oakville, Ontario.

Haruna Murakami & Sumitada Moriguchi from Japan mainly train with Bruno Marcotte in Canada and finished fourth with 154.71 points. Their spin and steps in the short program were outstanding, four other elements good and the death spiral only got the basic level. In their free program they made several small mistakes. Olympic Champion Bruno Massot’s French pair of Oxana Vouillamoz & Flavien Giniaux were second after a very good short program with a triple throw flip and an excellent reverse lasso lift. For the first time they had more than 60 points. But in the free they dropped to fifth place with 153.59 points after making three big mistakes on the triple throw and the jump combination. But they nevertheless made huge progress since last year when they had finished last at Junior Worlds with 103.92 points.

Ava Kemp & Yonathan Elizarov from Canada placed sixth with 149.03 points. They made no real mistake in the short program, but Kemp fell on the triple throw Salchow in the free and the individual jumps were a bit shaky. The second U.S. pair of Naomi Williams & Lachlan Lewer of Colorado Springs, coached by Drew Meekins and Natalia Mishkutienok, is on seventh position with 145.05 points. They got the necessary minimum points for Junior Worlds at their very first international competition, the Bavarian Open in early February, where they won the junior event. In Calgary, their short program was without big mistakes, but Williams went down on the triple toe loop in the free and some other elements were a bit shaky. The second Canadian pair of Chloe Panetta & Kieran Thrasher finished eighth with 135.73 points, ahead of the Czech team of Barbora Kucianova & Lukas Vochozka (132.15 points) and the Chinese team of Yixi Yang & Shunyang Deng (131.97 points).

2023 Four Continents Championships

2023 European Championships

Has Skating Become an Unjudgeable Sport?

Interview with Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen

Interview with Nikolaj Memola, 2022 Junior Grand Prix Men's Champion

Interview with Madison Chock and Evan Bates

Interview with Ilia Malinin

Interview with Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, 2022 World Pairs Champions

Interview with Loena Hendrickx, Belgian Women's Champion, 2022 World Silver Medalist and 2022 Grand Prix de France Gold Medalist

Interview with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Canadian Ice Dance Champions, 2022 Skate Canada Gold Medalists

Interview with Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, Canadian Pairs Skaters, 2022 Skate America Silver Medalists

Interview with Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson, British Ice Dance Champions

Interview with Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, 2022 Four Continents Ice Dance Champions

Interview with Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, Italian Ice Dance Champions


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