After a postponement and a change of host, the World Junior Championships kick off tomorrow in Tallinn, Estonia. The Estonian capital also held the last edition of the championships which took place back in March 2020 days prior to the Covid-19 pandemic officially being declared.
When is it on?
World Juniors begins Thursday, 14 April with the men’s short programme and concludes Sunday, 17 April with the women’s free skating.
Who is skating?
Russian skaters took three of the four titles on offer and amassed three quarters of the medals back in 2020. The absence of Russia in Tallinn due to the invasion of Ukraine will provide ample medal opportunities for other countries competing this year.
Quad God Ilia Malinin (USA) is the stand out favourite in the men’s event after breaking 100 points in the short programme and finishing ninth overall at Senior Worlds last month in Montpellier, France. The Tondiraba Ice Hall will be familiar territory for Kao Miura (JPN) who claimed Four Continents bronze in Tallinn back in January and he will likely be the main challenger to Malinin. Tatsuya Tsuboi (JPN), Mihhail Selevko (EST), Mikhail Shaidorov (KAZ) and Wesley Chiu (CAN) will be some of the other skaters also contending for medals.
The last time the United States won the women’s title was back in 2008 and this year they are fielding a strong team led by Isabeau Levito (USA) who won a gold and a silver at her two Junior Grand Prix assignments and is also the 2022 U.S. national bronze medallist. Lindsay Thorngren (USA) also nabbed two medals at her Junior Grand Prix events and came fifth at U.S. Nationals. Local fans will be cheering on Niina Petrokina (EST) to step up to the podium, while Nina Pinzarrone (BEL) will be aiming to emulate her fellow countrywoman Loena Hendrickx’s achievement in Montpellier and take home a medal for Belgium. Seoyeong Wi (KOR) finished sixth at 2020 World Juniors and is poised to move closer to the medals this time round. Rinka Watanabe (JPN) and Rion Sumiyoshi (JPN) took the top two spots at the Coupe de Printemps last month.
Barring any major disaster, World and European fourth place finishers Karina Safina and Luka Berulava (GEO) are on course to take Georgia’s first ever World Junior pairs title. Australia last claimed a medal in this event back in 2017 and Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) have a good chance in Tallinn to pick up another one. Anastasiia Smirnova and Danylo Siianytsia (USA) are the sole American representatives in the pairs competition and with the third highest season best have a reasonable expectation to be on the podium.
The possibility of a North American sweep in the ice dance event beckons in Tallinn. Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen (USA) and Natalie D’Alessandro and Bruce Waddell (CAN) are likely to battle it out for the gold. Angela Ling and Caleb Wein (USA) will probably be not too far behind, while teams like Hannah Lim and Ye Quan (KOR) and Angelina Kudryavtseva and Ilia Karantsevich (CYP) might play spoiler in the race for medals.
Everything you need to know (and some things you did not) about the skaters, the competition schedule and results can be viewed here.
When is the skating on?
The evening/middle of the night if you are in Asia, at a suitable hour in Europe and very early in North America. The times listed for the World Championships are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Tallinn then this link is your friend.
Where can I watch the pretty skaters?
This season’s World Junior Championships on the ISU Skating YouTube channel.
What are the hashtags?
#WorldJFigure #UpAgain #FigureSkating