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ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023: Pairs and Ice Dance Preview

by Brendan Rourke

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier wave to the crowd after skating in the pairs competition at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 7, 2022 in Beijing.

 

Of the 18 men and women representing Team USA at the world figure skating championships, 12 of them are competing in either the paris or ice dance division. And some of those athletes are seasoned veterans looking to take home some hardware this week. Highlighting Team USA's pairs athletes are defending world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier. Meanwhile, in ice dancing, Madison Chock and Evan Bates are hoping to finally break Team USA's nine-year gold medal drought at worlds. Lynn Rutherford's all-encompassing preview has more information on that. For now, we'll take a quick glance at every duo competing at the world championships for the United States.




Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier compete in the pairs short program during the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Though the pair have been skating together for just three years, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier have an opportunity to make history at this year's world championships. If the duo takes home a gold medal, they will be the first-ever U.S. pair to win multiple world titles. They claimed the top spot at the U.S. championships in January. However, they will face tough competition this year, including Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who already have a victory over Knierim and Frazier at the Grand Prix Final. Additionally, they will be attending worlds without their top primary coaches due to a health emergency, leaving an uphill, but doable, battle.

 

 

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier compete in the pairs short program during the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Fast Facts:


Alexa Knierim is married to former pairs skater, Chris Knierim. The duo skated in competitions together from 2012-2020. Knierim and Brandon Frazier started their 2022-23 campaign with a gold medal at 2022 Skate America. The achievement marked their first Grand Prix title in a full-fledged Grand Prix event.

Finishes:

2022 Skate America: 1st Place (Gold medal)

2022 MK John Wilson Trophy: 1st Place (Gold medal won by 21.66 points. The pair became the first U.S. pair to win two Grand Prix events in one season)

2022 Grand Prix Final: 2nd Place (Silver medal. The duo missed gold by just one point)

2023 U.S. Championships: 1st Place (Gold medal. Won by 31.11-point margin. It is the largest margin of victory in history, which surpassed their own previous record set in 2021)




Emily Chan and Spencer Howe compete at the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 27, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Emily Chan and Spencer Howe are one of two duos in the pairs division making their world championships debut this year. Chan and Howe, who have been skating together since 2019, have consistently placed behind Knierim and Frazier, capturing silver Grand Prix medals at 2022 Skate America and the 2022 NHK Trophy competition. Chan and Howe have a solid opportunity to earn a podium spot this week.

 

 

Emily Chan and Spencer Howe compete in the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Fast Facts:

As an individual skater, Emily Chan was the 2016 U.S National Junior Champion. Together, Chan and Spencer Howe are two-time silver medalists at Four Continents, Grand Prix events, and U.S. nationals.

Finishes:

2022 CS U.S. Classic: 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2022 Skate Canada International: 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2022 NHK Trophy: 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2022 Grand Prix Final: 6th Place

2023 U.S. Championships: 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2023 Four Continents: 2nd Place (Silver medal)




Ellie Kam and Danny O'Shea compete during the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Just like Chan and Howe, Ellie Kam and Danny O'Shea will be making their world championships debut this week. The duo are very new partners, with their international debut coming at the 2022 Ice Challenge event. Kam and O'Shea picked up a bronze medal at the U.S Figure Skating Championships in January.

Ellie Kam and Danny O'Shea compete during the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Fast Fact:

Danny O'Shea began learning to skate in 1995. He was the 2018 Four Continents champion with his former partner, Tarah Kayne. 

Finishes:

2022 Ice Challenge: 1st Place (Gold medal)

2022 CS Golden Spin of Zagreb (Challenger Series): 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships: 3rd Place (Bronze medal)




Madison Chock and Evan Bates compete during the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Leading the trio of teams in the ice dancing division are the newly engaged couple of Madison Chock and Evan Bates. The pair are aiming to claim their first-ever world championship gold medal. Although the U.S. has 17 total ice dancing medals from world championships, more than any other nation, only one team has claimed gold. 2014 Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White accomplished the feat twice (2011 and 2013). Chock and Bates are hoping to break that gold-medal drought and add to their legendary Team USA status.

 

 

Madison Chock and Evan Bates wave to the crowd after skating in the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 28, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Fast Facts:

Chock and Bates have been skating together since the 2011-2012 season. The pair have been to three Olympic Winter Games dating back to 2014. They secured a silver medal in ice dancing at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Finishes:

2022 Skate America: 1st Place (Gold medal, their first Grand Prix gold since 2015)

2022 NHK Trophy: 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2022 Grand Prix Final: 2nd Place (Silver medal, their fourth career Grand Prix Final silver)

2023 U.S. Championships: 1st Place (Gold medal, their second consecutive and fourth overall)

2023 Four Continents: 1st Place (Personal best 87.67 points in the rhythm dance)




Caroline Green and Michael Parsons compete in the ice dancing event at the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons are the first of two U.S. ice dancing teams that will be making their worlds debut this week. Green and Parsons were last year's Four Continents champions. At the 2023 U.S. championships, they finished with a silver medal and almost 10 points clear of third place. Despite a stacked international field, the duo has a great chance of finishing in the top 10 at worlds. 

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons compete in the ice dancing event at the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Fast Fact:

At the 2022 NHK Trophy event, Green and Parson won a bronze medal, It marked their first Grand Prix medal as a partnership and Green's first overall. 

Finishes:

2022 CS Finlandia Trophy (Challenger Series): 5th Place

2022 Skate Canada International: 4th Place (The pair was in third place after rhythm dance, but overtaken during the free dance portion of competition.)

2022 NHK Trophy: 3rd Place (Bronze medal)

2023 U.S. Championships: 2nd Place (Silver medal)

2023 Four Continents: 5th Place




Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko compete in the ice dancing event at the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California.

 

Like Green and Parsons, Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko will be making their worlds debut this week after first being labeled as alternates. The pair have been skating together since 2014 and have posted solid performances as of late, including bronze medals from last year's Four Continents Championship and this year's U.S championship. They won their first Grand Prix medal during the 2019-2019 season and have a solid chance to finish inside the top 10 while in Japan.

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko compete in the ice dancing event at the 2023 TOYOTA U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 26, 2023 in San Jose, California

 

Fast Fact:

In addition to competing at the senior level together, Carreira and Ponomarenko are also two-time World Junior medalists (silver in 2018 bronze in 2017), the 2017 Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists, and the 2018 U.S. national junior champions. 

Finishes:

2022 MK John Wilson Trophy: 4th Place

2022 Grand Prix of Espoo: 4th Place

2022 CS Golden Spin of Zagreb (Challenger Series): 1st Place (Gold medal)

2023 U.S. Championships: 3rd Place (Bronze medal)

2023 Four Continents Championships: 4th Place


Brendan Rourke is a Digital Media Assistant for the USOPC. Previously, he spent three years writing for the NBA's Indiana Pacers, and is a graduate of IUPUI's Sports Capital Journalism Program.
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