2010 Figure Skating Worlds Preview: Post-Olympic Season Wrap-Up
The 2010 World Figure Skating Championships Wrap Up Busy Olympic Season
The 2010 figure skating championships taking place in Torino, Italy, March 22-28, will wrap up busy Olympic season in figure skating. Some of the 2010 Olympians and medalists will be missing from the post-Olympic World Championships, among them Evan Lysacek, Joannie Rochette, Evgeni Plushenko, and Tanith Belbin. Despite the fact that many of the skaters will be competing on very tired legs after intense Olympics, this year's World Championships are still promising to be a treat to figure skating fans for two reasons.
First, for some of the veterans who did not end up withdrawing from the Worlds, it will be the last chance to shine before ending the season and heading into the post-Olympic retirement. Secondly, some of the younger skaters who did not qualify to compete at the Olympics this year, will now be replacing their country's top-tier skaters who chose to skip the Worlds. A lot of emerging new talent comes through at the World championships that follow the Olympics in the unavoidable change of the guard that happens with every Olympic cycle. This year also marks 100th anniversary of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships event, for which over 30,000 spectators are expected.
Whom To Watch Out For?
In ladies skating, 2010 Olympic champion Yu-Na Kim of Korea and Olympic runner-up Mao Asado of Japan will again battle it out for the World Title. It seems Kim and Asada are in for a long rivalry. Both are 19, and full of potential. Both have also been nearly flawless in their Olympic performances. It remains to be seen if Yu-Na Kim will continue to reign supreme in the field. Her phenomenal combined score of 228.56 is something many experts believe won't be touched for quite some time.
Joannie Rochette of Canada will not be competing at this year's Worlds citing lack of training in the weeks after the Olympics. Rochette was busy with her mother's funeral after going back to her home in Quebec. Joannie Rochette's mother Therese Rochette died of a heart attack just days before her daughter was set to compete at the 2010 Olympics Games.
- Joannie Rochette's Mother Therese Dies Days Before Event
- Skater Joannie Rochette Withdraws From Worlds: Reason Unknown
In Rochette's absence, the competition for the bronze medal is wide open. Rising star 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu of USA and former world champion Miki Ando of Japan are likely to put up a good challenge.
In men's figure skating, Olympic champion American Evan Lysacek and runner-up Evgeni Plushenko of Russia announced that they will not compete at the Worlds. Instead, Evan Lysacek will be involved in Dancing With The Stars as part of the celebrity cast.
Meanwhile, silver Olympic medalist Evgeni Plushenko of Russia pulled out because of an injury that would not let him land his trademark quadruple jumps. American skater Johnny Weir who was sixth at the Olympics withdrew from the Worlds, saying he needs time to re-access his strategies and goals.
Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland ended his skating career and won't be appearing at the Worlds. In the absence of so many top skaters, Olympic bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi of Japan has a good chance to become a World champion for the first time in his career. Reigning World silver medalist Patrick Chan of Canada also has a shot at the podium in Torino. Chan finished in fifth place at the Olympics.
In pairs, Olympic champions Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China are retiring and will not compete at Worlds, leaving the door open for the other two Chinese pairs Qing Pang/ Jian Tong and Dan Zhang/ Hao Zhang. Reigning World champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany also have a chance to become three-time consecutive World champions. The pair was first at the Worlds in 2008 and 2009. Predicted to become Olympic champions, Savchenko and Szolkowy placed a disappointing third in Vancouver.
Finally in ice dance, Tanith Belbin and Bejamin Agosto of the United States will not be competing. The couple was only fourth at the 2010 Olympics after being silver Olympic medalists in 2006. Tanith Belbin Tweeted yesterday that she will now be one of the announcers with NBC to give her commentary during the World Championships. Belbin's teammates Meryl White and Charlie White will battle it out for the gold medal with the Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in the absence of Olympic bronze medalists Okasana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia.
For detailed schedule and competitor bios, check the World Championships' official website.