U.S. Figure Skating has lofty goals across all four disciplines at this week’s World Championships in Shanghai, China, including winning its first women’s medal in nine years.
Olympians Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds are all medal threats, the U.S. champion Wagner in particular. Their biggest competition will be three Russians, including Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Yelena Radionova, the two women who beat Wagner at the Grand Prix Final in December.
Wagner, Gold and Edmunds are all trying to become the first U.S. women’s Olympic or Worlds individual medalist since Kimmie Meissner and Sasha Cohen in 2006, the longest drought since World War I.
They’re also out to keep Russia from the first women’s podium sweep since Americans Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1991.
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The U.S. men’s trio would like to qualify three spots for the 2016 World Championships in Boston, the first in the U.S. since Los Angeles 2009. To do that, the two best placements from U.S. champion Jason Brown, Adam Rippon and Joshua Farris must combine to be no worse than 13th (Brown places sixth and Rippon seventh, for example).
That won’t be easy. The men’s field includes reigning Olympic and World champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan and World bronze medalist Javier Fernandez of Spain. Russians Maksim Kovtun and Sergey Voronov and Japan’s Takahito Mura also outperformed all of the Americans in the Grand Prix season.
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The U.S.’ best shot at gold may be in ice dance with Sochi Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates. They were eighth at the Winter Games and fifth at the 2014 World Championships.
But this season, with Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White sitting out, Chock and Bates won two Grand Prix events and finished second at the Grand Prix Final, the second biggest international event behind Worlds.
Finally in pairs, U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim want to finish in the top six. That would match or better the best American finish in pairs since 2006.
Here’s the schedule of events in Shanghai (all times Eastern):
Tuesday: Short dance (9:30 p.m.)
Wednesday: Pairs short program (6:15 a.m.)
Wednesday: Women’s short program (10:30 p.m.)
Thursday: Pairs free skate (7 a.m.)
Thursday: Free dance (10:30 p.m.)
Friday: Men’s short program (4:30 a.m.)
Friday: Women’s free skate (10:30 p.m.)
Saturday: Men’s free skate (5:45 a.m.)
Icenetwork.com will provide live online coverage to its Season Pass subscribers.
NBC will air coverage Saturday from 8-10 p.m. ET.
Tara Lipinski/Johnn Weir previews: Women/Ice Dance | Men/Pairs