Figure Skating

Figure Skating World Championships 2019: As it happened - Monday

Olympic Channel are on site in Saitama with live updates as Yuzuru Hanyu arrives in Tokyo.

By ZK Goh and Scott Bregman ·

All times are Japan Standard Time (GMT+9). Please refresh for the latest updates.

CLICK HERE for the blog from Day 2 (Tuesday).

9:15 pm – We're calling it a night

Thanks for following our live blog from Saitama today! With just a few skaters left to practice tonight, we're stopping the live blog here for Monday. Don't forget to check back tomorrow, when Yuzuru Hanyu is expected to finally practice. He's scheduled to take the ice at 11 am local time. See you tomorrow!

9:05 pm – Will we ever see a quintuple jump?

That's the question we're asking in Episode 1 of our new series, Is It Possible?, featuring Shoma Uno. Watch below:

Is It Possible for Figure Skaters to Complete a Quintuple Jump?

The series that examines the next step in a sport’s evolution asks if figur...

8:35 pm – More from Kihira

We've collated the best quotes from Rika Kihira's earlier press conference, which you can watch here.

Rika Kihira concentrating on triple Axel

Japan's Grand Prix Final winner and Four Continents champion Rika Kihira sa...

8:18 pm – 'Quad king' Chen

Nathan Chen appears to be living up to his nickname of the 'Quad king' — he attempted five quadruple jumps in his free program practice skate this evening. He did, however, fall during his first quad flip.

Earlier, after his morning session, the 19-year-old told the media that he wasn't worrying about his rivals.

"Every single skater here is amazing, you can’t count any one out. If I focus on other skaters, I end up doing really bad so right now I’m just trying to focus on myself."

8:08 pm – Photos of Shoma Uno

The current men's group out on ice includes Nathan Chen, but Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno did take his evening practice skate in the last group, and we've got pictures. And watch this space for the first episode of Olympic Channel's latest original, Is It Possible?, which features Uno, coming very shortly.

Shoma Uno in Monday practice before the Worlds

7:35 pm – Hanyu sighting

7:03 pm – Caption competition

No prizes are on offer, but figure skating (and Evgenia Medvedeva) fans, give us your best captions!

6:50 pm – No Yuzuru Hanyu

Shoma Uno and Keiji Tanaka have showed up for their evening skates, but Yuzuru Hanyu won't be skating today.

6:30 pm – Photos from Zagitova's and Medvedeva's practice skates

Alina Zagitova on ice

Evgenia Medvedeva practice skate Monday

6:10 pm – The big question…

Will any of the three Japanese men show for their practices in roughly 40 minutes?

6:00 pm – Zagitova finally skates

Alina Zagitova has finally taken to the ice in Japan.

5:45 pm – Look who we've found…

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, who didn't skate this morning's practice session, is at the rink this evening.

Alina Zagitova warming up before practice

5:30 pm – Hear from Kihira

5:23 pm – Lonely, so lonely

With the three Japanese skaters all skipping this morning's practice session, and Poland's Igor Reznichenko also a no-show in Group 2, Latvia's 2016 Youth Olympic silver medallist Deniss Vasiljevs was the only man to take to the ice. And, as this post from his manager Christopher Trevisan shows, it was a lonely shuttle bus ride back to their hotel…

5:13 pm – Team USA cooling down in style

The American skaters are getting into the local spirit with Japanese hand fans!

5:04 pm – Get in touch!

Don't forget, you can get in touch with us @olympicchannel on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Send us your comments and photos, and don't forget to tag us! We'll also be monitoring the #WorldFigure hashtag.

4:49 pm – Skating, but not as you know it

Yuzuru Hanyu has won pretty much everything there is to win in figure skating.

But he hasn't done it wearing the clog-like Japanese shoes called geta

4:25 pm – Any questions for Meryl?

Olympic champion Meryl Davis will be joining our team in Saitama for the Worlds tomorrow. Don't forget to send her some questions!

4:16 pm – Tursynbaeva lands clean quad Sal in practice

Kazakhstan's Four Continents silver medallist Elisabet Tursynbaeva has landed a clean quadruple Salchow in her afternoon free program practice skate. No woman has landed a clean quad jump in senior competition to date.

4:10 pm – Where's Hanyu?

While all three Japanese men skipped their morning practice, they're listed to take to the ice again this evening at 6:50 pm in Group 2. Meanwhile, it seems Satoko Miyahara has also been looking for Yuzuru Hanyu…

Satoko Miyahara looks through some curtains

That said, maybe she should look in the train stations (see 3:18 pm) — or even Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, the world's busiest junction.

3:45 pm – Jason Brown takes in the sights

Sochi 2014 team bronze medallist Jason Brown of the U.S. has been taking in the sights in Tokyo. The Japanese speaker has been tweeting in that language since his arrival in the country for the Worlds.

The tweet roughly translates as "I've finally arrived in Japan! I took a walk in Shinjuku! I'm very happy, I love Tokyo!"

3:18 pm – Hanyu-mania reaches commuters

He may not have hit the ice this morning, but Yuzuru Hanyu is hard to escape in Japan. Here he is on advertising displays in a train station.

3:00 pm – Morning recap

So we know Rika Kihira is in confident mood going into this week, where she and her compatriots will aim to become the first female Japanese world champion since Mao Asada in 2014. You can read our recap of the morning's practice sessions here.

2:28 pm – Sad Pooh

Disappointed or upset that Yuzuru Hanyu didn't appear for his practice skate earlier this morning? You're not the only one…

2:15 pm – Before practice…

1:40 pm – Pairs practice

It's not just the ladies practising at the moment. European and Grand Prix Final pairs champions Morgan Cipres and Vanessa James of France are also running through their routine right now.

Morgan Cipres lifts Vanessa James during pairs practice at the Worlds.

1:33 pm – Axel attention

After her short program run through, Medvedeva worked several double Axel, including in combination with a triple toe. After each attempt, the Russian went straight over to the boards to discuss with coach Tracy Wilson.

1:26 pm – Medvedeva on ice

Olympic silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva has taken to the ice for her practice skate. She's had a tough year, and appears to have worked on her double Axel.

She cleanly executed a run-though of her short program that included a triple Lutz, triple toe combination, a double Axel and a triple loop.

1:11 pm – Get in touch!

Don't forget, you can get in touch with us @olympicchannel on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Send us your comments – and if you're attending the event in Saitama this week, do tag us in your photos. We'd love to see them and we may even share some!

1:05 pm – Kihira's goals

Speaking at a post-practice press conference, Rika Kihira said her focus this week was on a clean short program and landing the first triple Axel during her free program.

Japan's female skaters pose during a press conference at the Worlds.

12:21 pm – Kihira ready for World debut

The Grand Prix Final champion, who has made a splash in her senior debut season, looked strong in her practice session inside Saitama Super Arena, executing several clean triple axels.

Rika Kihira takes a bow after her practice run-through in Saitama

12:13 pm – Press-ure packed

All eyes in the rink-side press seats are currently focused on the three Japanese women practicing. These seats were mostly empty prior to their 11:55 a.m. practice time.

Media watching the Japanese women's training session

11:55 am – First look at the women's home hopefuls

Japan's female contingent of Rika Kihira, Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto are currently on the ice for opening practice.

Women's practice group four take to the ice

11:45 am – Jin Boyang in the house

China's Olympian and double World Championship medallist Jin Boyang is among the male skaters who will be challenging for the podium. In case you missed it, we spoke to him exclusively earlier in the season about the 21-year-old's hopes for what will be a home Olympic Games at Beijing 2022. Watch here.

Jin Boyang after his opening official practice

11:28 am – Ladies under the bright lights

While the men take their turn on the practice ice, the ladies are center stage in the main rink. Currently up: group 3, which contains Four Continents silver medallist Elizabet Tursynbaeva. Will we see the quadruple Salchow this week in Saitama?

Elizabet Tursynbaeva jumps during practice at Figure Skating Worlds

10:19 am – No California spring break for Chen

At the U.S. Championships, Nathan Chen said he hoped to spend his spring break training with coach Rafael Arutuian as a tune-up leading to the Worlds.

Unfortunately, illness derailed his plans.

"I was pretty sick a week ago," the reigning World champ said. "I’m feeling a lot better than that but I still have a little bit of a residual cough. It doesn’t affect me on the ice so it’s fine."

Instead, he remained in Connecticut where he is a freshman at Yale University, citing concern for his fellow #TeamRaf members.

"I didn’t want to affect all other skaters [who train with Arutunian], like Mariah is competing, Michael’s competing, I didn’t want to affect them so I stayed in New Haven," he added.

Nathan Chen practices on the first day of the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan

9:55 am – Look ahead to all the action

Competition gets underway on Wednesday and you can preview the competition in our Essential Guide. Want to know when your favourite skater is in action? We've also broken it down for you in a handy day-by-day look ahead.

9:07 am – World champ Nathan Chen takes the ice for the first time in Saitama

The reigning World, U.S. and Grand Prix Final champion Nathan Chen of the United States performed his short program in the practice rink this morning, complete with a clean triple axel.

Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou and Lukas Britschgi during practice at the World Figure Skating Championships

8:07 am – Still waiting for Hanyu

The double Olympic champion was scheduled to take the ice this morning during the second men's practice group. He has a second opportunity this evening at 6:50 p.m. local time.

Until then, the fans who filled the practice rink this morning will have to settle for the life size images of the Japanese phenom outside of the Saitama Super Arena.

Read more on Hanyu's return from injury.

8:00 am – Hello from Saitama and #WorldFigure

Good morning from Japan! Olympic Channel is live on site at the 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan. We'll be bringing fans exclusive interviews, behind the scenes content, some surprises and more all week long. So keep checking for all the action.