2012 U.S. pairs champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin pulled out of the World Championships, citing a right ankle injury Denney sustained in practice Wednesday.
They were replaced by Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay, who were 12th at the Sochi Olympics. The pairs competition at the World Championships in Saitama, Japan, starts with the short program Wednesday.
Denney and Coughlin were third at the U.S. Championships in Boston, just missing the two-pair U.S. Olympic Team. Zhang and Bartholomay were second behind Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who make up the other U.S. pair entered in Saitama.
At worlds, the U.S. hopes for a combined placement from the two pairs of 13th or better (such as sixth place and seventh place) to earn three pairs entries at next year’s World Championships. The U.S. hasn’t earned three pairs spots at an Olympics or worlds since 2003.