Image: Flickr / Hergus1

Jumps and grace aplenty: A round up of the 2024 World Figure Skating Championships

The 2024 World Figure Skating Championships (colloquially referred to as Worlds) were held this year in Montreal, Canada. Worlds are considered one of the most prestigious competitions in figure skating, second only to the Olympics, and this year’s athletes and champions certainly showcased the talent, dedication, and skill needed to compete in this famous event.

Like most figure skating competitions, the Men’s, Women’s and Pairs events in Worlds take the form of a a short program and long program/free skate, while ice dance is judged by a rhythm dance and a free dance – with the skater’s, or pair’s, total points from both programs added up at the end to give them a final score.

Each member nation of the International Skating Union (ISU) is eligible to send a team of eight skaters – two men, two women, one pair skating couple and one ice dance couple – and has to have reached a certain technical threshold during the previous season to be eligible to compete.

19-year-old Ilia Malinin, the winner of the Men’s Singles event was the man to watch during Worlds

This year, the Men’s Singles event was one of the standouts, with multiple skaters having record-breaking performances. This highlighted their power, skill, and technical perfection.

19-year-old Ilia Malinin, the winner of the Men’s Singles event (consigning Japan’s Kagiyama Yuma to earn this year’s silver medal), was the man to watch during Worlds. After making history last year by landing the sport’s first ever quad Axel jump in competition, subsequently being dubbed the ‘quad god’ by fans, the world watched to see what he could do this year. His record-breaking six landed quadruple jumps during his free skate (including his historic quad Axel) didn’t fail to disappoint audiences or the judges.

His long program scored 227.79 overall, beating Nathan Chen’s previous world record. His free skate, set to the ‘Succession’ soundtrack, combined his dramatic artistry and powerful technical elements to create a mesmerising skate, which completely deserved its record-breaking haul of points.

Bronze medalist, Adam Siao Him Fa, also broke records with his free skate, taking him from 19th place after the short program to third place overall – an incredible comeback. His free skate certainly merited this, with his clean, powerful jumps and beautiful artistry contributing to a score of 206.90, making him one of only three men this year to break the 200-point barrier. This achievement was even more impressive as he was also given a two-point deduction due to his illegal backflip.

Kaori’s incredible free skate propelled her to victory from fourth overall after the short program

The Women’s event also broke records this year, with Japan’s Sakamoto Kaori claiming her third consecutive world title, taking victory over fan-favourite American skater Isabeau Levito and Korea’s Kim Chae-yeon. In doing so she became the first woman in 56 years to secure a ‘three-peat’.

Kaori’s incredible free skate propelled her to victory from fourth overall after the short program; set to Lauryn Hill’s ‘Wild is The Wing’ and ‘Feeling Good’, the choreography showcased her famously powerful jumps and combination spins in a gorgeously artistic skate.

Like Ilia Malinin and Sakamoto Kaori, the winners of the Pair event – Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps – also broke a world record, with Stellato-Dudek becoming the oldest woman to win a figure skating world title at 40 years old.

Their beautiful short program showed off the impressive lifts and throws that the discipline of pair skating is known for, and their subsequent first place was well deserved. Their free skate was set to ‘Interview with a Vampire’ – an elegant, clean skate showing their synchronisation and artistry.

Those that competed excited fans with their exceptional performances

The ice dance event was as impressive as all of the others, with American pair Madison Chock and Evan Bates taking the gold medal to win a second consecutive world title. Home-favourites, Canadian skaters Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier took silver, while the Italian pair of Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri won bronze.

Chock and Bates’ punchy rhythm dance, set to a medley of Queen songs, demonstrated the pair’s mastery of the often complicated footwork element of the ice dance discipline; it also included a difficult Twizzle sequence that had the audience on their feet. The free dance then gave them a chance to show off some stunning lifts and their grace.

This year’s World Figure Skating Championships were historic and those that competed excited fans with their exceptional performances.


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