Intriguing storylines and inspirational performances are duly expected at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships. Despite high-profile withdrawals of several top male and female skaters (namely gold medalist Evan Lysacek and Canada’s Joannie Rochette), the annual event still enjoys a tremendous field headlined by newly crowned queen of figure skating Kim Yu Na and her rival Mao Asada of Japan. On the men’s side, the 2010 Worlds will be the most open competition in history as there are more than a dozen skaters who have a shot at winning the coveted title. In this article, I will preview this year’s Worlds and offer my predictions on which man and woman will win the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships.
1. Ladies’ Figure Skating Worlds 2010
Prediction: Kim Yu Na wins again; Mao Asada and Miki Ando attempt a quad.
Lots of history was made in the ladies’ event at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Kim Yu Na became the first Korean in history to win a gold medal in figure skating, and she achieved it in record-shattering fashion. Kim’s chief rival, Mao Asada, earned the marvelous distinction as the first woman to land three triple axels in one competition. Finally, Canada’s Joannie Rochette overcame the sudden loss of her mother in winning a bronze medal on home soil. One should expect even more history will be made at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships.
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The key conclusion that most of the top skaters take away from the 2010 Olympics is that they won’t be able to challenge Kim Yu Na without taking more risks. After Vancouver, Mao Asada has already suggested that she might attempt a quad (which has only been done once in women’s figure skating) at worlds. Numerous other skaters have expressed similar sentiments. Currently, Miki Ando of Japan remains the only female skater to have successfully landed a quad in competition. One should not be surprised if Ando pulls a quad out of her bag of tricks, in an attempt to redeem her disappointing placement in Vancouver. It is because of this factor that the ladies’ event at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships is highly anticipated and could help to add some flavors to an otherwise lackluster competition.
2. Men’s Figure Skating Worlds 2010
Prediction: Takahashi takes world title; Oda and Kozuka complete a Japanese sweep.
The men’s event at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships is the most open competition in recent times. The withdrawals of top skaters such as gold medalist Evan Lysacek, 3-time champion Evgeni Plushenko, and former world titlist Stephane Lambiel make this championship truly a free-for-all. As the best of the remaining skaters all come from the land of the rising sun, there is a very high likelihood that the event will be dominated by Japanese skaters.
Among the talented Japanese, Daisuke Takahashi appears most likely to win the coveted world title. The popular skater has the artistry and technical ability to contend with the very best skaters; he has certainly proved his worth at the Vancouver Olympics. With the absence of most skating stars, Takahashi is naturally the favorite. The only question mark with regards to Takahashi is whether he can land the quad. Fortunately, most skaters in the competition won’t even attempt a quad. He should be able to overcome the field with his superb artistry.
Nobunari Oda’s Olympic campaign was marred by a disastrous long program which includes uncharacteristic falls and a broken skate lace. Considering how great Oda was coming into the Olympics, his poor performance was very disappointing. Fortunately, life is full of second chances. Oda will look to redeem himself at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships. Takahiko Kozuka has long been touted as the next great skater in men’s figure skating. Kozuka did not win a medal in Vancouver, but his performance left a good impression on the audience and won him a lot of new fans. The Japanese youngster certainly has the talent to win at the biggest stage, and the 2010 Worlds may be his time to shine.
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The 2010 World Figure Skating Championships is shaping up to be quite a competition. Best wishes to all participating skaters.