Just over two weeks after the conclusion of this season’s World Championships, Japan plays host once again to some of the best figure skating talent from around the globe as the World Team Trophy is held in Tokyo. While the biennial event is seen as a fun way to wrap up the competitive calendar, the US$1,000,000 prize fund means there is some serious money up for grabs for the six teams who will take to the ice inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
When is it on?
The World Team Trophy begins Thursday, 13 April with the ice dance rhythm dance and concludes Sunday, 16 April with the exhibition gala.
Who is skating?
Japan have won the World Team Trophy on two previous occasions (2012 and 2017) and qualified in first place. The withdrawal this week of two-time World champion Shoma Uno will have hurt their chances of picking up a third title, but they will still be fielding a strong team headed by their other gold medallists from Saitama Worlds last month Kaori Sakamoto and Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara.
The United States of America have taken top honours in the event four times (2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019) and are second in the rankings this season. The American team is well balanced across all of the categories with 2023 World champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates, 2023 World silver medallists Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and 2023 World bronze medallist Ilia Malinin expected to be their leading scorers.
Canada have never captured the World Team Trophy with their best placement silvers in 2009 and 2013. The Canadian team has not achieved a medal since that second place finish a decade ago and they will be eyeing the podium this time round. They will be lead by Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier who were Canada’s sole medallists at last month’s Worlds.
South Korea are making their World Team Trophy in Tokyo. The Koreans qualified in fourth after their excellent showing in the singles events at the World Championships where both Hae-in Lee and Jun-hwan Cha attained silver medals in their respective categories. 2023 World Junior silver medallists Hannah Lim and Quan Ye have put together a senior rhythm dance programme especially for this competition.
Italy are the foremost European team of the season and this will be their fourth participation in the World Team Trophy. Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri stood on the World ice dance podium for the very first time in their careers as did their teammates Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii in the pairs category.
France are the only European nation to have taken part in every edition of the World Team Trophy so far and they kept that streak intact was squeaking through to grab the final spot on offer at the event. The French campaign will be spearheaded by 2023 European champion Adam Siao Him Fa and 2023 World fourth place finisher Kevin Aymoz.
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?
Middle of the night in North America, morning till lunchtime in Europe and afternoon till evening in Asia. The times listed for Worlds are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Tokyo then this link is your friend.
Where can I watch the pretty skaters?
This season’s World Team Trophy can be viewed on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographic restrictions apply.
What are the hashtags?