by Gina Capellazzi | Photo by Daphne Backman
Last week, U.S. world team members participated in teleconferences with the media in anticipation of this week’s 2015 World Championships. The event will take place from March 23-29 in Shanghai, China.
2015 U.S. Champions Madison Chock & Evan Bates are coming into the World Championships, looking for their first World Championship medal. The two, who just won silver at the Four Continents Championships in Seoul, South Korea last month, are considered one of the favorites for the gold medal.
After Nationals, Chock & Bates changed half of their circular footwork. Since returning home from Seoul, they have worked on the execution of that footwork and are hoping to receive a level 4 for it.
“Our programs are capable of winning a gold medal,” Bates said. “We just have to go out there and seize the moment and have one of those performances that you remember even after you retire.”
“We are feeling great,” Chock said. “We are feeling strong and confident going into Worlds.”
Chock & Bates debuted a new free dance costume at Four Continents Championships. They have not determined yet whether they will wear those or their black and white ones from Nationals. They are bringing both costumes to Shanghai and will decide which one to wear there.
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani, who won silver at the 2015 U.S. championships, are heading to Shanghai in the hunt for their second World medal. The siblings won bronze in 2011 and have competed at the Worlds every year since, but that second medal has eluded them.
Earlier this season, the teams made changes to their programs, but after Seoul, the Shibutanis worked on polishing up several elements in their program.
“Our programs have changed so much this season, but since Four Continents, we have adjusted some of our transitions,” Maia said. “We were extremely happy with our Paso and our footwork levels. We are just working on strengthening our partial step sequence, because our goal is to get a 4-4 at Worlds. In terms of technical elements, Four Continents showed us we are headed in the right direction.”
“We are confident in our ability to obtain maximum levels on both programs and we are just looking to execute and perform next week,” Alex added.
Unlike their Team USA counterparts, 2015 U.S. bronze medalists Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue did not compete at the Four Continents Championships. U.S. Figure Skating chose to send 2015 U.S. pewter medalists and 2014 U.S. and World Junior Champions Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-luc Baker instead. The additional training time was seen as a blessing for Hubbell & Donohue.
“We are really excited to compete at Worlds,” Hubbell said. “We have had a long break since Nationals and so we have trained more than we have been at any other point this season so we are feeling really strong and ready to go and end the season on a high note.”
“It helped us out because we were able to use that time where everyone was competing and coming down from competition to really step our training up,” Donohue added.
The 2015 World Championships will be the second time Hubbell & Donohue have competed at the World Championships. They finished 10th in 2012.
Hubbell & Donohue will also debut brand new free dance costumes at Worlds.