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World figure skating championships 2022: Preview, schedule & stars to watch

The final major event of the figure skating season is set for 23-27 March in Montpellier, France. Find out everything you need to know about the event here.

4 min By Nick McCarvel
3-Kagiyama Yuma in practice 2022 Worlds
(Picture by Oscar Corrons/Olympics.com)

The final figure skating event of the Olympic season is set for Montpellier, France, later this month (23-27 March) for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022.

Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will look to add to their glistening Olympic performance with a fifth world title on the home stage. While men's winner Nathan Chen confirmed to Olympics.com earlier this month that he was headed to Montpellier, a "nagging injury" ended his hopes of a fourth straight world crown.

Last month, the International Skating Union announced that "no skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia and Belarus shall be invited or allowed to participate in international ice skating competitions," including the world championships.

While that means we won't see Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova among other top Russian skaters, the field will also be missing the Olympic pairs champions, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, who opted out of the event following their victory.

With the Russian teams out and no Chinese teams making the trip, the pairs field – in particular – is an open one: Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier are the highest finishers from Beijing, having placed sixth.

Olympic bronze medallist Sakamoto Kaori will lead the women's field, looking to become the first Japanese woman to win a world title since Asada Mao in 2014.

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The four disciplines offer intriguing storylines each. With Chen out, his bid to become the first male skater since Scott Hamilton (1981-84) to win four consecutive world titles has ended, opening the field to Japan's two Beijing medallists – with a first-time champion guaranteed.

With Hanyu Yuzuru also not making the trip to France – the two-time Olympic champion (who was fourth in Beijing) saying he needed rest – Japanese countrymen Kagiyama Yuma and Uno Shoma, who won silver and bronze, respectively at the Games, will be favourites to top the podium.

In women's, with the top two finishers from Beijing absent, Sakamoto will lead a women's field that also promises a first-time world champion. Her Japanese teammate Higuchi Wakaba was fifth at the Games - thanks to her historic triple Axel - and will eye a top three finish.

South Korea's You Young, Alysa Liu of the U.S. and Belgian Loena Hendrickx were among the top eight in Beijing, as well.

Knierim/Frazier are joined by American teammates Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc in the pairs field, as the breakout team of the season – Japan's Miura Riku and Kihara Ryuichi – will look to continue their momentum.

Papadakis/Cizeron will be attempting to win a fifth world title having won their first back in 2015. The reigning Olympic champs would be just the second to do so in the discipline's history, and first since 1976 when Liudmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov of the USSR won their sixth title event in seven years.

They're joined by top four finishers from the Games – and Montreal-based training mates – Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue as well as Madison Chock and Evan Bates - both of the U.S.

Schedule: Montpellier set to host Worlds, 23-27 March

The Sud de France Arena in Montpellier is home to Worlds, marking the first time France has hosted the event since 2012 in Nice. Practices get underway on Monday (21 March), with competition getting underway on Wednesday (23 March) morning wit the women's short program.

All times are local Central European Time (CET).

Wednesday 23 March
11:05 – 15:56 Women's short program
18:30 – 21:28 Pairs short program

Thursday 24 March
11:00 – 15:51 Men's short program
18:15 – 21:44 Pairs free skating

Friday 25 March
11:00 – 15:57 Ice dance rhythm dance
18:00 – 21:55 Women's free skating

Saturday 26 March
10:55 – 14:50 Men's free skating
17:05 – 20:24 Ice dance free dance

Sunday 27 March
14:30 – 17:00 Exhibition gala

Where and how to watch

The World Championships are an ISU Championships event, meaning you might not find the event on the same TV channel or streaming platform as the Olympic Games.

For American fans, the event will be broadcast on NBC and across its platforms.

Many of the same TV outlets that carry the Grand Prix Series will also air worlds. See a list of broadcasters here.

For some countries, you can find the action on the ISU YouTube channel.

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Gabriella PAPADAKISGabriella PAPADAKIS
Guillaume CIZERONGuillaume CIZERON
Nathan CHENNathan CHEN
Figure SkatingFigure Skating
FranceFRA
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