Scoreography Podcast Episode 7 — World Championships 2023 Recap. Pictured: Miura and Kihara

World Championships 2023 Recap

We review the action from the World Figure Skating Championships 2023 in Saitama, Japan — triumphs, surprises, disappointments, and occasionally questionable scoring.
April 4, 2023

Analysis of the Figure Skating World Championships 2023

After a long post-olympic season, the best-currently-competing-skaters from around the globe converged on the World Figure Skating championships in Saitama, Japan. They and gave us a few disappointments, some great surprises, and a lot of gorgeous (even when it wasn’t not perfect) skating!

In this super-sized episode, we cover each of the disciplines in a lot of detail — comparing notes on our favorite performances of the competition and talking through everything from the emotional kiss-and-cry’s to the questionable-as-ever judging. 

Pairs Competition Highlights

Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara’s win—in spite of a flawed free skate—brought Japan their first Pair’s world title. They are our favs of the season, making us feel our full range of emotions every skate.

Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier coming through for silver—in spite of the terrible health crisis their coach and friend, Todd Sand, is going through.

Sara Conti & Niccolò Macii from Italy skated to the moment with two exceptional programs.

Deanna Stellato-Dudek & Maxime Deschamps skated strong, if not flawlessly, for 4th place at their first worlds. That, in and of itself, is an incredible feat for the Canadians.

We saw particularly great showings by Lia Pereira & Trennt Michaud from Canada (they are ones to watch next year!) and Emily Chan & Spencer Akira Howe from the US.

Final thought: We need more pairs teams ASAP!

Women’s Competition Analysis

Kaori Sakamoto held on after a phenomenal short, and a not-as-perfect long program, to claim her second world title. The grit she showed completing the second triple in a combo after popping the first shows why she is a champion’s champion. That, and her fantastic sportsmanship during the medal ceremony celebration.

An absolutely amazing performance by Haein Lee for the silver caps a breakthrough season for this young talent from South Korea. We expect her to be a THREAT next season.

Loena Hendrickx’s resolute fight through both programs to grab bronze was lovely to see, and a nice way to end a rocky season for her.

Isabeau Levito was near-perfect in the short, but an unfortunate fall on the triple lutz and other small mistakes dropped her to 4th overall. Still wildly impressive, even if disappointing for the young American. Now if we could just get the America program and media to stop over-hyping her so she can just concentrate on her skating…

Mai Mihara was a dream in the short, but could not sustain the momentum in the long and dropped to 5th. Still, big season for the Japanese veteran and reigning Grand Prix champion.

What a competition for Germany’s Nicole Schott! A Top Ten finish and a personal best is a huge accomplishment this deep into a long career.

Amber Glenn and Bradie Tennell were scored low enough to land outside the top ten — leaving the US with only 2 Women’s spots for 2024 Worlds.

Thank goodness Maddie Schizas changed her long program. (We were practically begging her to get rid of that wretched West Side Story free skate.) Redemption is a great way to end her season!

Final thoughts: Not the best overall competition. A lot of little mistakes from nearly everyone except Haein and Nicole. Hoping to see some more personality and variety in next year’s programs.

Ice Dance Competition Thoughts

FINALLY, Madison Chock & Evan Bates go from bridesmaid to bride, taking home the World Championship gold — even with a fluke (and largely irrelevant) fall.

Surprise-but-well-deserved silver for the highly technical Italians, Charlène Guignard & Marco Fabbri — already making their case for the 2026 Olympic podium.

A bronze for Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier with lovely, if a bit tight and sluggish, skates. Not what we expected, really, but great to see them skate well.

Very surprising 4th place finish for the good time dance team of Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson. This often mid-tier team lit up the Japanese crowd and, apparently, the international judges.

Deeply underscored (or were others over scored??) Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen of Canada unquestionably deserved to be on the podium. Their 5th place finish is our biggest complaint in all of the Worlds judging.

Best moment: Kana Muramoto & Daisuke Takahashi, no contest. Their free skate was an explosion of emotion and pure joy. Though Ice Dance is the least popular discipline in Japan, this performance on home might just change that trend.

Final thoughts: Impressive skates by the top 12 teams, but WTF is up with the scoring?! 

Men’s Competition Celebration

Shoma Uno showed up, regardless of ankle injury concerns and weeks of terrible practices, to win his second consecutive world title. The Short King Reigns!

Wow wow wow, Junhwan Cha is The Moment!! Possibly the performance of the competition overall, the South Korean skater nabs silver with two fantastic skates.

Ilia Malinin gave us a great quad axel and a slightly tight performance in the long to earn his first world medal, bronze. Though an extraordinary jumper and technician, the international judges sent a clear message that his artistic elements were not equal to the rest of the top 5 skaters. Its something Ilia clearly took to heart, commenting on it during the press conference, with an intend to focus more on artistry next season.

OMG, what an unexpected competition for Kevin Aymoz — a 4th place Worlds finish for him is gold for us all. Two flawless performances elevated this French artiste well above his own expectations.

WE LOVE YOU KEEGAN MESSING! This short program was a thing of beauty. The free skate saw him drop in the standings, but not in the hearts of the audience and skating fans everywhere. Thank you, Keegs, for all these years on the ice. You’re a legend.

Jason Brown lands in 5th on the scoreboard, but first in our hearts. His performances were simply perfect, top to bottom. “Master of the Blade”, indeed.

Kazuki Tomono is a force of nature.  Wasn’t perfect, but a damn delight on the ice. Expect big things for his future.

Lukas Britschgi from Switzerland made his case for one-to-watch status going into next season.

Final thoughts: A stellar competition to end Worlds 2023! 

Scoreography — A Figure Skating Podcast hosted by Wendy Buske and Adron Buske

Scoreography Podcast

Scoreography is a show about the art, athleticism, culture, and entertainment of Figure Skating. We discuss current competitions, the sports history and legacy, up-and-coming skaters and absolute legends, and the action outside of the rink. 

Whether you’re new to the sport’s fandom, a once-in-awhile watcher, or a seasoned skating veteran, you’ll find something to enjoy in our program. 

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