Multiple medals at the World Figure Skating Championships are rare for the United States. This year’s team could reverse that trend.
And there couldn’t be a better time than in a pre-Olympic season.
Two-time defending champion Nathan Chen and fellow American Vincent Zhou both made the podium in 2019, the last time worlds were held. Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue collected bronze in ice dance.
U.S. skaters have a strong chance of exceeding that total in Stockholm this week, maybe even with a possible women’s medal considering the improvement by two-time national champ Bradie Tennell and some uncertainty about the normally dominant Russians. The last U.S. medal in women’s competition was Ashley Wagner’s silver in 2016.
“As most skating fans know, the ladies event is all about the talent of Russia and Japan,” says Johnny Weir, a three-time U.S. champion and now NBC’s analyst, along with 1998 Olympics winner Tara Lipinski. “The most important thing for Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen to do is to finish as high as possible so Team USA might get three spots at the Olympics next February. Both U.S. ladies are impeccable in so many ways: Bradie Tennell has brilliant consistency and poise under pressure, where Karen skates with such beauty and flow. But challenging for the podium will be tough.”
Not impossible, Lipinski believes.
“Going into worlds last year,” she says of the Montreal event canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, “it really looked like it was going…