Olympic pairs silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China are the latest PyeongChang stars to pull out of the world figure skating championships.
Sui has a stress fracture in her foot, according to Xinhua News Agency.
That means Sui and Han will not defend their 2017 World title in Milan, Italy, in two weeks.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the 2015 and 2016 World champions, are also out as they retired after taking bronze in PyeongChang.
That makes Olympic gold medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany even bigger favorites.
Savchenko, 34, earned five world titles with former partner Robin Szolkowy, making the podium eight straight years between 2007 and 2014 before he retired. With Massot, she earned bronze in 2016 and silver in 2017.
Top challengers should be Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who were fourth in PyeongChang and third at the 2017 Worlds. Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres could earn France’s first Olympic or world pairs medal since 2000.
Top skaters often skip the world championships that are held one month after the Olympics for fatigue or off-ice opportunities.
Other notable skaters missing worlds:
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — Injured
Javier Fernandez (ESP)
Patrick Chan (CAN) — Reportedly retired
Adam Rippon (USA)
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA)
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — Retired
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) — Possibly retiring
Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS)
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