My Favorite Montreal Figure Skating Worlds-24 Moments

Last weekend I was celebrating everything exciting world of figure skating has to offer at the Montreal Figure Skating Words24!   There were moments of glorious triumph and disappointing failure, breathtaking artistry and otherworldly technical excellence.   Figure skating is not part of my daily life but I take every opportunity to become a part of this exciting juncture of artistry and sport – for 4-5 days at a time!

Montreal Worlds, (being a 6-hour drive from my home south of Boston) was just meant to be! After all, I had been accredited to cover Montreal Figure Skating Worlds in March of 2020 for a major Russian language newspaper. Those Worlds were cancelled by covid just a day before there were to open (and Russian figure skaters have been banned from international competition since March 2022 due to their country’s invasion of Ukraine).  My friend and I booked our all-access spectator tickets for Montreal Figure Skating Worlds-24 the minute the tickets went on sale almost a year ago.  (We also already have tickets to Boston-25, but more about that at the end of this post!)

Here are my favorite Montreal Worlds-24 moments:

 

Ilya Malinin’s Free skate performance was Montreal IT moment for me by far.  I felt so excited and lucky to have witnessed it!  Not only did the 19 year old teenager from Virginia successfully land the quadruple axel (he is the only man to have landed this jump in competition- and I was lucky to witness one of his first successful attempts at Skate America-22), but he then also landed 5 more quads (2 in combinations) to earn the highest free program score ever (227.79, topping Nathan Chen’s).

Ilya Malinin is performing one of his brilliant jumps

Yuma Kagiyama of Japan (2022 Olympics silver medalist) finished second overall (based on short and long program), and Adam Siao Him Fa won the bronze.

Ilya Malinin (US) in first, Yuma Kagiyama (Japan) in second and Adam Siao Him Fa (France) in third

Adam’s free skate (he finished second in free skate) was my other big Moment of the Worlds.  Adam was only 19th after the short program but climbed all the way to the podium after his inspired free skate (there was a fiesty forbidden back flip at the end of it for which he got a 2 points deduction- Adam  did NOT expect to matter in the medals)!

It was so exciting to watch Adam (who based on his short program score performed in the very first group of skaters) sit in the “podium” room for over 2 hours, leading the competition until the very end when Yuma and then Ilya (who was performing last) pushed him to the bronze position.  (Adam was inspired by Nathan Chen who climbed to 5th from 17th position in the short program in 2018 Olympics.  That failure has motivated Nathan to continue for 4 more years and win gold in 2022 Olympics).

My next MOMENT was brought by Canadian gold winning Pairs Skaters Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps.  Deanna had left the sport for 16 years (she used to be a world junior level ladies singles skater in her teens) and came back to start pairs 8 years ago at the age of 32!

I was also lucky to have witnessed Deanna’s MOMENT as she shared a hug with her Mom (who was at the stands next to me) during the victory circle around the rink.

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps

Entire field of Pairs Skating celebrated  a “revival” of sorts at this Worlds – having probably suffered the most by the absence of strong Russian pairs for several years.  Germans Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nikita Volodin (bronze) were  the biggest upset and surprise to win bronze in their first season together!  Japanese Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara (last year World Champions) were second (after a difficult injury dominated season), with their seemingly effortless yet powerful style I admire the most in pairs (Ryuichi gave it all on the ice and literally collapsed after the free skate and was not able to participate in the awards ceremony.  The ceremony was then repeated after the Men’s awards late Saturday night- this was the only WORLDS MOMENT we missed!)

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara sharing a tender post performance moment

Isabeau Levito, 17, of the United States brought me not one but two WORLDS’ FAVORITE MOMENTS with her lyrical (and almost flawless) short and long programs she managed to pull  off after a disastrous performance at US Nationals in January.  I wanted her to do well and she did!  She is balletic, with long lines and effervescent presence on ice- the style I adore.  Her performance (in combination with Amber Glenn’s 10th place) earned US women three spots for next World championships.  It is also best US ladies’ finish since Ashley Wagner’s 2016 Worlds’ silver medal.

Isabeau Levito after her short program

Amber Glenn’s triple axel– was a MOMENT in its own right.  Many of us miss big jumps in ladies’s event (Russian ladies were famous for that) and Amber delivered a beautiful triple axel in her free skate.  Unfortunately, she botched the rest of the program and finished 10th overall.

with Amber Glenn at the concourse
Women’s podium: Kaori Sakomoto (Japan, third consecutive gold medal at the Words), Isabeau Levivo (US, silver) and Chaeyeon Kim (Korea, bronze)

While I admit that I understand Ice Dance event (and its requirements) the least, I knew that I was watching greatness when Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier performed their Wuthering Heights long program to the soundtrack by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. I have since rewatched the program several times on utube and did some research.  The program was praised by legendary Russian figure skating coach Tatyana Tarasova.  Now I just have to read the book.

I enjoyed another great WORLDS MOMENT when Italian (bronze winning) dancers Marco Fabbri and Charleen Guignard finished their performance without losing a beat after Guignard’s dress got caught under her skate with only two elements left.  The whole arena stopped breathing for couple of seconds and then shared a wonderful MOMENT of collective relief!

Ice Dance Medalists: Madison Chock/Evan Bates (US, gold), Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (Canada, silver), and Marco Fabbri and Charleen Guignard (Italy, bronze)

Now that I think back about my 5 days at the Worlds, watching the performances and mingling with skaters and coaches at the arena and at the concourse – it all seems like one  big happy MOMENT.

With Israeli skater Mark Gorodnitsky who finished 10th
With Belgian skater Loena Kendrickx (in fourth)

The Worlds 2025 are coming to Boston in March of 2025.  I already have a ticket. Check out this official ISU site to get yours (right now, it’s only available for sale of “all event tickets”).

Until then, here is a 3-minute video of my favorite Montreal Figure Skating Worlds moments.

SHARE:

4 thoughts on “My Favorite Montreal Figure Skating Worlds-24 Moments”

  1. What an awesome experience. Attending figure skating for the first time myself, I now realise how exciting it is : ))

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      It was great to meet you, Alia! I hope you will have a chance to attend more live figure skating events in the future!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *