The 2022 World Figure Skating Championships are scheduled to begin next week. As the last major event, the Worlds will effectively mark the end of the figure skating season. This year’s competition will take place in France for the first time in a decade.
With the Winter Olympics also being held this year, many of the top figure skaters are likely to miss Worlds. Ongoing world events have led to the International Skating Union (ISU) banning athletes from Russia and Belarus. With many top stars forced out of the competition, the door is open for new stars to emerge.
Despite missing some of the best skaters, the 2022 World Figure Skating Championship should still have plenty to offer. With medals and prize money on the line, the competition will be fierce. Keep reading for more information about the most prestigious ISU Figure Skating Championship.
Where Will the 2022 World Figure Skating Championships Be Held?
As with many high-profile world events, the World Figure Skating Champions are scheduled years in advance. In 2019, it was announced that the competition would be heading to Montpellier, France for the 2022 Worlds. France has not been the host city for Worlds since 2012.
The festivities will begin on March 21st and go through the 27th.
When Did the World Figure Skating Championships Start?
The ISU was originally formed in 1892 and has been the governing body for competitive ice skating ever since. Other governing organizations have attempted to pop up over the years but they have been unsuccessful. Currently, nearly 100 countries are members of the ISU.
After forming in 1892, the ISU held the first World Figure Skating Championship in 1896. The original competition only had male competitors. Madge Syers became the first woman to compete at Worlds in 1902. She earned a silver medal despite competing against male competitors.
The ISU established the first women’s only competition in 1906, which Syers won. Two years later, the ISU established the first pairs competition. All three competitions would not appear at the same event until the 1930 World Figure Skating Championship. Ice dancing would not be added to the competition until 1952.
Throughout decades, Worlds has undergone many changes. However, it has remained one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions. In the world of competitive ice skating, only the Winter Olympics is typically seen as more important.
Who Is Competing at the 2022 Figure Skating World Championship?
The Worlds are an annual event and are typically the most important event of the figure skating season. However, with the Winter Olympics also taking place earlier this year many competitors will be missing this year. For instance, the two top men’s figure skaters, USA’s Nathan Chen and Japan’s Hanyu Yuzuru, have already withdrawn. Their absence will open the door for a first-time Worlds’ champion in the Men’s single competition.
Chen announced his withdrawal this week, citing a nagging injury. He is a three-time World Champion and won the gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Chen will be replaced by Camden Pulkinen. Pulkinen will join Vincent Zhou and Ilia Malinin on the US team.
The ISU banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing because of the invasion of Ukraine. That means that the FSR’s Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov will be unable to defend their 2021 championship. Last year’s second-place team, China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, also withdrew from the competition this year.
Sui and Han won the Gold in pairs skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics. With the defending World and Olympic gold medalists out of the competition, we could also see a first-time champion in the pairs skating event as well.
Which Country Has the Most Figure Skating World Championships?
Since starting in the late 19th century, the Figure Skating World Championships have only been canceled a total of 16 times. Over the 100 plus years of competition, countries’ strengths have become apparent. The US has 56 total gold medals at Worlds, with most of their success coming in singles competition. Russian athletes, where under the banner of the FSR, USSR, or the Russian flag, appear to have the advantage in pairs and ice dancing.
The USA has 26 gold medals at Worlds in the men’s singles event, the most of any country. Austria (22) and Sweden (15) round out the top 3. Germany’s Gilbert Fuchs won the first-ever Worlds competition in 1896. Ulrich Salchow from Sweden has won the event 10 times, the most ever. However, it is Austria’s Karl Schafer who has the most consecutive victories with seven. Last year, Nathan Chen won the event for the US.
USA’s success in singles competition also extends to the women’s singles event. The US has won the event a record 26 times. Norway (10) and Germany (9) are a distant second and third. All 10 of Norway’s’ gold medals were won in consecutive years by Sonja Henie. Henie has the most medals and most consecutive wins in the event. Last year’s winner, the FSR’s Anna Shcherbakova, is barred from competition this year.
The FSR swept the women’s singles event last year. However, Russia’s true dominance has come in team competitions. Russia has the most gold medals in pairs (34) and ice dancing (29). Germany (18) and Canada (12) have also done well earning gold medals in pairs skating. Meanwhile, the UK (17) and France (7) round out the top-3 gold medal getters in ice dance.
Despite the success of the FSR last year, we are guaranteed to have a new champion this year. Both winning teams in the pairs and ice dance competitions are banned from competing in the 2022 Worlds.
What Are the prizes?
Competitors at the World Figure Skating Championship are skating for more than just personal glory. The top-six competitors in each event will receive a cash prize. A country’s performance will also be used to determine entry quotas at next year’s event.
Last year, a total of $868,000 in prize money was handed out. The cash prize amounts have not been announced for this year’s competition. However, we can assume they should be similar to last year. The top-six skaters are given cash prizes, with the bulk of the money going to the top-three skaters or teams.
In the pairs skating and ice dance competition, a total of $252,000 was given out for each event. A first-place finish earned the winning team $90,000 to share. The second-place team was awarded $65,000. A third-place finish won a bronze medal and $45,000.
National pride and a hefty amount of cash will be on the line when the World Figure Skating Championships begin. The action takes place next week in Montpellier, France. You can follow the action live on Peacock, NBA, and USA Networks. For more updates on figure skating and other sports, check out our other blogs.