As expected, this year’s figure skating world championships won’t hold quite the star power of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
A number of medalists have withdrawn from the event, whether from injury, retirement or simply the need for a break, which is often the case when the world championships occur just a month after the Olympics. Among those who will not be competing are women’s silver medalist and two-time defending world champ Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia and men’s two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time reigning world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.
The original U.S. roster has changed a bit, too, with Adam Rippon, Karen Chen, Maia and Alex Shibutani, and Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea all withdrawing from the competition.
But the U.S. roster still features plenty of strong medal contenders, with 10 Olympians among the 16-member team, including five athletes who were part of last month’s Olympic team bronze medal and ice dance team that already has two world medals to their name.
Here’s a look at the skaters who will represent the U.S. at this year’s event in Milan, which begin Monday and runs through March 25.
Nathan Chen, 18 (Salt Lake City)
When the two-time defending U.S. men’s champion was last on the ice he set an Olympic record by landing an astounding six quads, five cleanly, in his free skate in PyeongChang. He finished fifth at the Games after boosting himself up from a disappointing 17th-place short program to win the free skate, and a medal at the world championships is certainly within reach. He made his world championship debut last year and finished sixth.
Vincent Zhou, 17 (Palo Alto, California)
The youngest member of Team USA in PyeongChang also made Olympic history last month by landing a quad lutz in his short program. No one had landed that jump in Olympic competition previously. He’s never been to the senior world championships, but last year he won the gold medal at the junior world championships. Zhou finished sixth at the Olympics.
Max Aaron, 26 (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Aaron replaces Olympian Adam Rippon after first and second alternates Jason Brown and Ross Miner declined to compete. The 2013 U.S. champion won the silver medal earlier this season at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and was ninth at this year’s national championships. He is coming off a fifth-place performance at the Four Continents Championships. This is Aaron’s fourth appearance at worlds with his previous best being seventh place.
Bradie Tennell, 20 (Carpentersville, Illinois)
Tennell took the field by storm at this year’s national championships en route to her first U.S. title. Known for her consistency and calm demeanor, Tennell finished ninth in her Olympic debut last month. This will be Tennell’s first appearance at the senior world championships. She was seventh at the world junior championships in 2017.
Mirai Nagasu, 24 (Arcadia, California)
The two-time Olympian landed the first triple axel by an American woman at the Olympics during the team event and the third by any woman, helping Team USA win the bronze medal. She couldn’t land the jump in either program during the individual competition, however, and finished in 10th place. This will be her third trip to the world championships. Her best finish was seventh in 2010.
Mariah Bell, 21 (Monument, Colorado)
Bell replaced Olympian Karen Chen, who withdrew from the competition. First alternate Ashley Wagner declined the invitation. Bell went to the world championships for the first time in 2017, finishing 12th, after winning the bronze medal at that year’s national championships. Bell was fifth at the national championships this year and followed that up with a fifth-place performance at the Four Continents Championships.
Ice Dance Teams:
Madison Chock, 25 (Novi, Michigan) and Evan Bates, 29 (Northville, Michigan)
This year’s U.S. bronze medalists and 2015 national champions will be looking for redemption after a fall on a combination spin in the free dance that sunk their Olympic medal dreams in PyeongChang. This will be their sixth-straight trip to the world championships as a duo. They have twice medaled at the world championships, winning silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016.
Madison Hubbell, 27 (Okemos, Michigan) and Zachary Donohue, 27 (Madison, Connecticut)
Hubbell and Donohue were in third place after the short dance in PyeongChang and finished fourth overall in their Olympic debut. They were also in third place after the short dance at last year’s world championships, winning a small medal there, before a fall left them in ninth place. Their top finish at worlds came in 2016 when they were sixth.
Kaitlin Hawayek, 21 (East Aurora, New York) and Jean-Luc Baker, 24 (Edmonds, Washington)
The former world junior champions replace Olympians Maia and Alex Shibutani on the world championships roster. The duo finished fourth at this year’s national championships and in late January won the gold medal at Four Continents, bringing momentum into their senior world championships debut.
Alexa Scimeca-Knierim, 26 (Addison, Illinois) and Chris Knierim, 30 (San Diego)
The Knierims, who are married, became the first Americans to land a quad twist at the Olympics and, despite a disappointing 15th-place finish in the pairs competition, they helped Team USA to the team bronze medal. This will be their fifth trip to the world championships with a top finish of seventh in 2015.
Deanna Stellato, 34 (Park Ridge, Illinois) and Nathan Bartholomay, 28 (Newtown, Pennsylvania)
The pair started skating together in late 2016 after Stellato returned the ice following her retirement from the sport as a teenager. They won the bronze medal at the U.S. championships this year and replace Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea on the world team.