Roster for the World Figure Skating Championships


Roster finally confirms Russian team; potentially highest ever number of pairs to compete in Helsinki, including North Koreans.

The World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki are now less than three weeks away. Yesterday, the deadline passed for countries to enter their skaters. With all entries and even all potential substitutes in, the ISU has now published the full roster. Most of the skaters on it were already known to be going, but not all. All in all, there are 37 men, 38 ladies, 29 pairs, 33 ice dance teams.

For one thing, the Russian skating federation never actually announced their world team, so we only get it now. However, they went with the team most had long figured they’d go with. Alexander Samarin’s valiant effort at the Russian Cup Final was for naught. He remains only the alternate, with Mikhail Kolyada & Maxim Kovtun getting the two berths. Maria Sotskova survived her troubled free at the European Championships, joining Evgenia Medvedeva and Anna Pogorilaya in the ladies once again. The three pairs Europeans settled decisively (Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov, Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov, and Natalja Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert) are going. So are the two ice dance teams the fall settled (Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev and Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin).

While who the three Russian pairs are isn’t news, the size of that roster is. If they all make it to the event, it’ll be the biggest field in the history of Worlds, beating out 1994’s 28-team field. It’s a shame only 16 of them will qualify for the free skate. It also confirms that Xiaoyu Yu & Hao Zhang have beaten out their former partners for the second Chinese berth, but that isn’t really news either.

Instead, the team whose presence is news are Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim. This isn’t their first ISU Championship, but it is their first Worlds. North Korea does occasionally send skaters to Worlds, but they usually prefer to send them to the Olympics. Indeed, their team may be here in the hopes of qualifying the berth. The odds are against that in Helsinki. Their chances should be far better at the Nebelhorn Trophy in the fall; most North Korean skaters who make the Olympics do so at the fall event. Nevertheless, their being here makes it look like North Korea does want them to go to the Games, even if they are in the South Korea.

Next: Two Withdrawals From Junior Worlds Thins Ladies Field

The World Championships are in Helsinki, March 29-April 2, 2017.