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2022 World Championships: Breaking the Ice

2022 World Championships

The 2022 World Figure Skating Championships, set against the backdrop of the enchanting medieval city of Montpellier, France, promises an event filled with unexpected twists and groundbreaking moments. Scheduled for March 21-27, the championships will see a reshuffling of the usual roster, paving the way for new champions to emerge in various disciplines.

Dramatic Changes in Participation

This year’s championship is marked by notable absences and changes. Following the ISU communication on March 1, Russian and Belarusian figure skaters and officials are barred from participation. Similarly, China has chosen not to send any skaters. These developments significantly alter the competitive landscape, offering fresh opportunities for athletes from other nations.

Withdrawals and Replacements

Yuzuru Hanyu

In a significant turn of events, American figure skating star Nathan Chen withdrew due to a persisting injury. His absence opens up the field, with Camden Pulkinen stepping in as his replacement.

Similarly, Yuzuru Hanyu’s withdrawal and subsequent replacements have shifted expectations in the men’s category. In pairs, Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro’s withdrawal sees Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud stepping up.

Country-wise Representation

The United States is fielding strong contingents across all categories, while Canada and Japan also have significant representations in various disciplines. These allocations are a direct result of performances at the 2021 World Championships and are indicative of the countries’ strengths in figure skating.

Anticipated Highlights

Kaori Sakamoto

The women’s event is particularly exciting this year, with a new champion set to be crowned. Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, following her bronze medal in Beijing, is among the favorites. The pairs event also anticipates new champions with the top five teams from the Olympics absent. American and Japanese teams are strong contenders for the podium.

In ice dance, American teams are in a prime position to clinch medals, but competition from Italian teams remains strong. The men’s event, reshuffled due to Chen’s withdrawal, is now more unpredictable than ever.

Skaters Facing Adversity:

The championships also highlight the resilience of skaters amidst geopolitical tensions. Georgian skaters, normally based in Russia, have relocated to Italy. Ukrainian skaters have found refuge in neighboring countries, continuing their training under challenging circumstances.

Retirements and Debuts

Retirement of ice skater

Several renowned skaters have announced their retirement, adding a layer of emotion to the event. Concurrently, new talents like Ilia Malinin of the U.S. and Japan’s ice dance duo Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi make their World Championship debuts, signaling the arrival of a new generation of figure skating stars.


What impact does the absence of Russian and Belarusian skaters have on the competition?

The absence of these athletes may level the playing field, allowing skaters from other countries a better chance at podium finishes, as Russia and Belarus traditionally dominate in several figure skating disciplines.

How does a skater qualify for the World Figure Skating Championships?

Qualification typically depends on national championships results and ISU world rankings. Skaters must also meet the minimum technical score requirements set by the ISU.

Are there any age restrictions for competitors in the World Championships?

Yes, skaters must be at least 15 years old by July 1 of the previous year to compete in senior-level events like the World Championships.

How do geopolitical events affect athletes’ training and preparation?

Geopolitical events can disrupt training routines and access to resources. Athletes may need to relocate, adapt to new environments, and overcome psychological stresses.

What measures are in place for athlete safety and COVID-19 protocols?

The ISU and host cities implement safety protocols like testing, mask-wearing, and social distancing. Specific measures depend on the host country’s regulations and the pandemic’s status.


The 2022 World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier is not just a competition; it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of sportsmanship and resilience. As skaters from around the world gather to showcase their skills, this championship is set to be a memorable event, marking both an end and a beginning in the world of figure skating.

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