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Olympic Gold Medalist Kim Yu-Na Headlines the World Championships

U.S. Broadcast Team Includes Weir, Lipinski, Belbin and Agosto

The 2010 World Championships has a strong field of competitors and an interesting broadcast team for Universal Sports, which has the TV rights in the United States. The event is being held in Torino, Italy from March 22-28.

Olympic gold medalist Yu-Na Kim of South Korea headlines the ladies field at the 2010 World Championships where she will once again face off against 2010 Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada of Japan. U.S. skaters include Mirai Nagasu (fourth in Vancouver) and Rachael Flatt (seventh) have a shot at the podium. Joannie Rochette, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist has withdrawn from the event.

2010 European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy is in the field and although she placed 16th at the 2010 Olympic Games, things may be different on her home turf. Kostner claimed the silver medal at the 2008 World Championships before plummeting to 12th at the global competition last year.

Evgeni Plushenko, who will be seeking his fourth World title, and Patrick Chan will be among the headliners at the men’s event which has be weakened by withdrawals , most notably 2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lsyacek, fourth-place finisher Stéphane Lambiel and sixth-place finisher Johnny Weir.

The ice dance discipline will feature 2010 Olympic ice dance gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and 2010 Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White who will once again battle it out for the top spot on the podium. Qing Pang and Jian Tong appear to be the top-ranked team in their discipline.

Meanwhile the broadcast team is looking to be star-studded as well. U.S. Olympians Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto are among those who will be adding their expertise to the Universal team.

Universal Sports will air an unprecedented 16 hours of live coverage from Torino. In addition, Universal Sports will have a live studio presence featuring the irreverent Weir as a special guest commentator. The three-time U.S. men’s champion (2004-06) and 2008 World bronze medalist, the flamboyant Weir now stars in his own reality show "Be Good Johnny Weir," which airs on Sundance Channel.

Weir joins play-by-play announcer Andrea Joyce, analysts Peter Carruthers (1984 Olympic pairs figure skating silver medalist), Michael Weiss (two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion and two-time World bronze medalist), Lipinski (1998 Olympic figure skating gold medalist), and duo Belbin and Agosto (2006 Olympic ice dancing silver medalists). Former NBC Olympic researcher Lee Ann Gschwind will handle interviews and in-rink updates.

“This is the strongest field I’ve ever seen for a World Figure Skating Championships in an Olympic year, and the level of talent were bringing from the broadcast side is their equal,” said Universal Sports executive producer David Michaels. “Having this many hours of live, studio presence will be a challenge, and were going to turn Johnny Weir loose and let him entertain and inform the audience, along with the rest of this tremendous group.”

Live coverage on Universal Sports.com starts at 7 a.m. ET on March 23 and continues with coverage of the entire World Championships. Full-length on-demand video, highlights, photos and recaps are available at UniversalSports.com/figure-skating.

For a TV schedule, click HERE and scroll down.