The 2009 world figure skating championships in Los Angeles is the definitive countdown for the Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010. More than any other worlds, the one before the Games is where skaters really start to jockey for position.
In the case of Canada, there is a medal prospect in each of the four disciplines, making this team the strongest the nation has seen in years.
Chan aiming for top
Canadian and Four Continents champion Patrick Chan is undoubtedly the one to beat in the men’s event.
After a bit of a disappointment at the Grand Prix Final, Chan has been brilliant in his last two competitions. His ability to express music and skate with a sense of joie de vivre makes his performances compelling and often unforgettable. Chan will be challenged in Los Angeles by France’s Brian Joubert, the 2007 world and three-time European champion.
World figure skating championships Tuesday through Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles:
TUESDAY, MARCH 24
4 p.m. Compulsory dance CBC Bold
9:30 p.m. Opening ceremony CBC Bold
10 p.m. Pairs short CBC Bold
Midnight Dance, pairs short CBC
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
Noon, 4:30 p.m. Men's short CBC Bold
10 p.m. Pairs free CBC Bold
Midnight Men's short, pairs free CBC
THURSDAY, MARCH 26
3:30 p.m. Original dance CBC Bold
8:30 p.m. Men's free skate CBC Bold
Midnight Original dance, men's free CBC
FRIDAY, MARCH 27
11:30 a.m., 4 p.m. Women's short CBC Bold
9:30 p.m. Free dance CBC Bold
Midnight Women's short, free dance CBC
SATURDAY, MARCH 28
2 p.m. Highlights CBC
7 p.m. Women's free CBC Bold
All times eastern
When: Short program Wednesday (CBC, noon-4 p.m., 4:30-8:30 p.m. ET); free skate Thursday (CBC, 8:30 pm.-2 a.m. ET).
Canadians: Patrick Chan, Toronto (two-time defending Canadian champion, 2009 Four Continents champion); Vaughn Chipeur, Calgary; Jeremy Ten, Vancouver.
Others to watch: Brian Joubert, France (2008 world silver medallist); Evan Lysacek, U.S. (2009 Four Continents runner-up); Takahiko Kozuka, Japan (2009 Four Continents bronze medallist).
2008 champion: Jeffrey Buttle, Canada, retired.
When: Short program Friday (CBC, 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. ET); free skate Saturday (CBC, 7-11 p.m. ET).
Canadians: Joannie Rochette, Ile-Dupas, Que. (five-time Canadian champion); Cynthia Phaneuf, Contrecoeur, Que.
Canada’s five-time national champion Joannie Rochette has been outstanding this season, continuing to improve and show confidence. She earned the season’s third-highest total score of 188.89, behind Kim and Asada, making her a real podium possibility. A couple of other names to watch are European champion Laura Lepisto of Finland and defending world silver medallist Carolina Kostner of Italy.
Others to watch: Mao Asada of Japan, (2008 world champion, reigning Grand Prix champion); Yu-Na Kim, South Korea (2008 world bronze medallist, 2009 Four Continents winner); Carolina Kostner, Italy (2008 world silver medallist).
2008 champion: Asada.
When: Short program Tuesday (CBC, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. ET); free skate Wednesday (CBC, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. ET).
Canadians: Jessica Dube, Drummondville, Que., and Bryce Davison, Cambridge, Ont. (2008 world bronze medallists, 2009 Canadian champions); Meagan Duhamel, Lively, Ont., and Craig Buntin, Kelowna, B.C.; Mylene Brodeur, Stanbridge Station, Que., and John Mattatall, Wallace, N.S.
Defending world bronze medallists Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison of Canada have had some inconsistencies over the season, but have the advantage of beautiful choreography, elegance and unison, which should help the national champions hold on to a podium spot. The other team to put into the mix is the defending world silver medallists Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang of China, who have the potential to be wonderful, but more often than not fall short due to nerves.
Others to watch: Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, Germany (2008 world champions); Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China (2006 world champions, 2009 Four Continents winners); Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, China (2008 world silver medallists); Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov (2009 European silver medallists).
2008 champions: Savchenko and Szolkowy.
DanceWhen: Compulsory dance Tuesday (CBC, 4-8 p.m. ET); original dance Thursday (CBC, 3:30-8 p.m. ET); free dance Friday (CBC, 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m.).
Canadians: Tessa Virtue, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, Ilderton, Ont. (2008 world silver medallists, 2009 Four Continents silver medallists); Vanessa Crone, Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier, Unionville, Ont.
In ice dance, the Canadian champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have the talent to be on the top of the podium, but are struggling to catch up after sitting out most of the season.
Virtue had an ongoing problem with chronic exertional compartment syndrome which required surgery on both shins in the fall and they were not able to get back on to the ice until December. Virtue and Moir’s first competition of the season was the Canadian championships in January where they defended their crown.
Their original dance and free dance are both innovative and extremely difficult. At the ISU Four Continents event in February, Virtue and Moir’s performances didn’t quite have the polish that comes from repetition during the season and they ended up in second place.
Others to watch: Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski, Russia (2009 European champions); Meryl Davis and Charlie White, U.S. (2009 Four Continents winners); Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, Russia (2008 European champions); Kingston, Ont.-born Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, U.S. (2006 Olympic silver medallists).
2008 champions: Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder, France, withdrew following shoulder injury to Delobel.
CBCSports.ca will be streaming the world figure skating championships live beginning March 24. Please check the schedule for details.I have no idea why CBC is only broadcasting at 12 a.m....you'll have to tape these segments. I guess live feed comes through 3 hours earlier on the coast. I am also unable to find out what in the world CBC Bold is....anyone????
The Canadian Press