By Nick Butler |
Russian teenager Alina Zagitova will be looking to continue her Olympic form when the World Figure Skating Championships begin in Milan tomorrow.
The 15-year-old is heavily favored to become the youngest women’s individual gold medalist since United States’ Tara Lipinski at the Mediolanum Forum.
She could also became the first Olympic champion to add the World Championship title the following month since another American in Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992.
Zagitova’s team-mate, the two-time reigning world champion and Pyeongchang 2018 silver medalist Yevgenia Medvedeva, is missing the season-ending event due to a foot injury.
Olympic bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada and Italian home hope and fourth-place finisher Carolina Kostner are expected to be among her biggest rivals once again.
German pairs skaters Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot are the only other reigning Olympic champions on the startline.
Savchenko is bidding for a sixth world title after winning five with the now retired Robin Szolkowy.
She could also tie with Norwegian legend Sonja Henie for 11 World Championship medals.
Japan’s defending men’s champion and Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu has withdrawn with an ankle injury.
Spain’s two-time former winner and Olympic bronze medalist Javier Fernandez is also missing.
This leaves Olympic and world silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan as favorite along with the likes of United States’ Nathan Chen.
France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are favorites to claim a third world title in the ice dancing.
They won silver in Pyeongchang behind absent Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir despite a “nightmare” wardrobe malfunction in the short program when Papadakis’ costume was unclipped.
Action is due to take place until Sunday (March 25) in the Italian city.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.