Stay Calm and Skate On: Figure Skating World Championships


Saba Nabaeighahroudi

SHINING STARS: Record breakers Evan Bates and Madison Chock, favored to win big this season, smile mid-routine.

Riya Gupta, Sports Editor

Figure skating—the very word conjures up images of sparkly costumes, graceful dance movements and alluring spins. While to many, figure skating is a sport only seen in the Olympics, figure skaters compete year-round, showing off new programs, skills and costumes that lead up to annual competitions and championships.

World Figure Skating Championships are an annual International Skating Union sanctioned event set to occur from March 20-23. For the upcoming competition, U.S. figure skaters have been gaining traction internationally as talented athletes break world records to reach the coveted spot at the top. 

In honor of the upcoming championships, let’s take a deep dive into the various disciplines across figure skating and the top teams that are favorites to win a gold medal:


In this discipline, one skater must lift their partner quickly and gracefully into the air as the partner being lifted makes intricate twirls on beat with music. These lifts are combined with synchronized  choreography and partnerwork that accentuate the technical expertise of the team. Because of the difficulty of lifts, pairs skating is often considered the most dangerous and injury-prone area of figure skating. 

Despite its challenges, pairs skating is a rewarding sport that is enjoyable to watch for those who enjoy acrobatics. Some competitors to look forward to are American team Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier. Knierim and Frazier, known best for the emotional connections they make with their audience, are poised to win the World Championship in what might be their last season.

Ice Dance:

Ice dancing is a field that is most well known for ballroom dancing with partners performing a set of complex twists in unison. Unlike pairs skating, ice dancers do not jump in the air or lift an individual above one’s head. Throughout the process, skaters get creative, incorporating a thematic story throughout their program that performs a unique story. 

Following the past Olympic cycle, many of the top teams have retired, leaving a smaller field of well-known competitors. One of the top competitors, known for their artistry and unique, award-winning costume choices, is American team Madison Chock and Evan Bates. This season has been their competitive best with Chock and Bates winning U.S. National Figure Skating Championships and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.


This individual skating event involves female skaters artistically dancing to music while completing twirling spins in the air. Compared to team event, the women’s individual event has some key differences.

“There’s more freedom compared to team or pairs events because you only have to focus on yourself,” figure skating senior Hannah Tao said. “You have control over what type of program you do and what you include in your elements.”

A main difference is jumps. Jumps are classified into two groups: toe and edge jumps. Within these categories, there are different types of jumps including the axel, lutz and salchow. The main difference between both categories is the position of the blade on the ice. The most difficult jump for the women’s field is the quadruple salchow which was first landed in the Olympics a year ago in Beijing by Russian Olympic Committee athlete Kamila Valieva.

Given the ban on Russian and Belarusian skaters in international competitions due to the war in Ukraine, the women’s field has shifted to become dominated by Japan, Korea and the U.S. Fan favorite and first-timer American Isabeau Levito is expected to land a spot on the podium along with Japanese Olympic bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto, who is well known for her charisma and skating technique.


Similar to the women’s event, the men’s discipline involves jumps that are assessed based on the skater’s grade of execution and world ranking. For men, the most challenging jump is the quadruple axel which requires an individual to face forward while completing four-and-a-half rotations in the air. While considered impossible for the human body, American skater Ilia Malinin was the first to complete the jump on Sept. 14, 2022 during the U.S. Classic competition

“I had an idea for trying [the quadruple axel] for a little while now. March or April was when I really started to work on the technique and try to improve it,” Malinin said to the Guardian. “[Hanyu] definitely inspired me to try it here.”

Because of this gravity-defying feat, Malinin is expected to medal at the World Championships.