Figure Skating World Championships 2019: As it happened - Sunday

Olympic Channel were on site in Saitama as the gala exhibition concluded the #WorldFigure Championships

All times are Japan Standard Time (GMT+9).

9:13 pm – Thank you and goodnight!

Thank you for your company over the last week as we've brought you all the highs and lows from the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama.

We hope you've enjoyed our coverage, do remember to keep an eye on our figure skating page for more videos and stories.

8:54 pm – Orser on Medvedeva and Hanyu

Brian Orser says Evgenia Medvedeva will start doing quad jumps.

And, asked about Yuzuru Hanyu's long-term plans, specifically for Beijing 2022, he said: "Do I think he can physically maintain this? The answer would be yes."

Remember, the full interview with Orser will be available on Olympic Channel in the week ahead.

8:33 pm – Orser under the spotlight

Medvedeva and Brown have now left for the banquet dinner, but Meryl Davis is busy speaking to Orser.

Don't forget to keep checking back on OlympicChannel.com in the coming days to find out what he had to say.

Meryl Davis interviews Brian Orser for the Olympic Channel
Meryl Davis interviews Brian Orser for the Olympic ChannelMeryl Davis interviews Brian Orser for the Olympic Channel

8:23 pm – Brian Orser in the house

Medvedeva and Brown's coach, Brian Orser, is here now too.

Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown pose with coach Brian Orser
Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown pose with coach Brian OrserEvgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown pose with coach Brian Orser

8:10 pm – Podcast special

Brown and Medvedeva are speaking to Meryl Davis for an Olympic Channel Podcast episode to be released in the days ahead.

If you're wondering why they're looking so dapper, that's because they're both dressed up for the closing banquet for the skaters tonight!

Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown speak to Meryl Davis
Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown speak to Meryl DavisEvgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown speak to Meryl Davis

7:59 pm – Look who we have here!

Stay tuned to Olympic Channel in the coming days as we bring you a lot more great content from #WorldFigure, including a very special chat with these two…

Jason Brown and Evgenia Medvedeva.

Meryl Davis chats to Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown
Meryl Davis chats to Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason BrownMeryl Davis chats to Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown

7:03 pm – Behind-the-scenes photos coming up

We're sitting down with some of the biggest stars in figure skating today, and we'll have behind-the-scenes photos for you very soon! Stick with us.

In the meantime, why not check out our figure skating original programs?

6:20 pm – Hanyu loves the mascot

Yuzuru Hanyu loves mascot Tamarlin, it seems. First he bowed to it, then insisted the athletes' photo included the mascot.

The skaters and stadium mascot Tamarlin thank the audience after the exhibition gala. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
The skaters and stadium mascot Tamarlin thank the audience after the exhibition gala. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)The skaters and stadium mascot Tamarlin thank the audience after the exhibition gala. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
Yuzuru Hanyu bows to the stadium mascot Tamarlin after the exhibition gala. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
Yuzuru Hanyu bows to the stadium mascot Tamarlin after the exhibition gala. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)Yuzuru Hanyu bows to the stadium mascot Tamarlin after the exhibition gala. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

6:04 pm – Best of the gala

That finale with all the skaters, sadly, brings this year's World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama to an end.

But don't be sad! Enjoy our gallery here of the best photos from today's gala.

And stay tuned to our blog, as we've got more behind the scenes to come this evening.

5:56 pm – Confirmation of World Team Trophy qualifiers

5:50 pm – High energy

This is a super upbeat exhibition program from men's world champion Nathan Chen.

It's a new program, too, set to Otto Knows' Next to Me.

5:44 pm – Crowd involvement

The crowd are clapping along as Ed Sheeran's Shape of You comes on for ice dance champs Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

They're also using Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud.

France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)
France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)

5:37 pm – Zagitova on ice

Alina Zagitova is on ice now. She is skating to Survivor (Tomb Raider), and will use her encore to repeat part of her Phantom of the Opera short program.

Don't forget, you can read full coverage of the interview she gave the day after her win here.

Russia's Alina Zagitova performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)
Russia's Alina Zagitova performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)Russia's Alina Zagitova performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)

5:33 pm – The champions are here

It's time for our champions to skate, beginning with Sui Wenjing and Han Cong.

Don't forget, all four champions will get an encore skate as well.

China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)
China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)

5:27 pm – No Poohs

Yuzuru Hanyu, that was superb.

Cheers from the audience through his exhibition program after every element.

He takes a bow and thanks all four sides of the arena.

The audience must've been stopped from throwing toys today, because there are no Poohs on ice.

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)

5:20 pm – Kihira wows

That was great from Rika Kihira, whose exhibition program has really captured the hearts of fans, judging by the #WorldFigure hashtag on Twitter.

We're nearing the big finale now. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, ice dance silver medallists, are currently on ice. Yuzuru Hanyu is next.

Rika Kihira of Japan during her exhibition skate (REUTERS-Issei Kato)
Rika Kihira of Japan during her exhibition skate (REUTERS-Issei Kato)Rika Kihira of Japan during her exhibition skate (REUTERS-Issei Kato)

5:10 pm – Uno still disappointed

Speaking to Olympic Channel in the mixed zone after his exhibition skate, Shoma Uno was still feeling down about his result here this week

"To be honest, it wasn't great, it wasn't good at all," he said. "I do have many regrets for this competition.

"I'm going to come back and start from zero, build myself together as Shoma Uno."

5:02 pm – That was different

Not a single jump in that exhibition from Medvedeva. That was very different, but absorbing. It told an emotive story.

4:55 pm – Just to reinforce the point…

Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès are also in all black.

That was spectacular, as they always are.

Expecting a big cheer now for ladies' bronze medallist Evgenia Medvedeva.

4:48 pm – Black is the new black

Skating to See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, here comes Japan's Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno.

He's wearing a black shirt and very dark blue jeans for this skate.

Japan's Shoma Uno performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)
Japan's Shoma Uno performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)Japan's Shoma Uno performs during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS-Issei Kato)

4:38 pm – Look who's here!

The gala is back underway, but in the corridors of the arena, look who we've found…

Yuzuru Hanyu ready for the exhibition gala
Yuzuru Hanyu ready for the exhibition galaYuzuru Hanyu ready for the exhibition gala

4:22 pm – Tursynbaeva reflects on Denis Ten

We've caught up with Elizabet Tursynbaeva in the mixed zone after that incredibly touching performance.

She was struggling to find the words, but explained why she chose to skate the tribute to Denis Ten.

"I think… since I'm representing the same country, it was very meaningful to skate the program in memory of him," she said. "This is one of my favourite exhibition programs, I can really feel this… I had to have this exhibition. It was important to me."

Reflecting on her quad Salchow this week, she said: "This medal means a lot to me, and the quad was even more important for me than the medal. I really wanted to land this jump here and I'm really glad it happened."

4:15 pm – Intermission

Well, that went by in a flash, didn't it?

We're already up to the intermission. The skaters will be back in 20 minutes.

4:12 pm – Rocky!

It's just shorts and a robe for Matteo Guarise, who is entering the rink, boxing-style, to the Theme from Rocky for his gala skate with Nicole Della Monica.

He's lost the robe now – cue MASSIVE! cheers from the crowd as he's shirtless.

The pair, who finished eighth in competition, are really putting on a boxing-themed show here.

Italy's Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
Italy's Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)Italy's Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise perform during the gala exhibition. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

4:10 pm – Rizzo reflects on breakthrough

After that intense exhibition, we caught up with Matteo Rizzo in the mixed zone to ask for his reflections on his breakthrough season.

He finished seventh in the men's event in his third world championships.

"It was great, just a little bit upset about my mistake in the free program," he said.

"Overall the result is good, to be top ten was a goal achieved. I will work harder and try to fight for a medal next year. "

Matteo Rizzo in the mixed zone wearing his Ghostbusters t-shirt after his gala skate
Matteo Rizzo in the mixed zone wearing his Ghostbusters t-shirt after his gala skateMatteo Rizzo in the mixed zone wearing his Ghostbusters t-shirt after his gala skate

4:05 pm – Cheers for Miyahara

Here comes Satoko Miyahara, who gets a big cheer from her home crowd.

She's skating to music from Cirque du Soleil, and has a light blue shawl to go with her sparkly dress.

3:53 pm – Emotional

Time for an emotional tribute to Denis Ten from his compatriot, ladies silver medallist Elizabet Tursynbaeva.

3:47 pm – Who you gonna call?

Here comes Matteo Rizzo, dressed as a Ghostbuster.

This is a very original costume!

Oh look, a man in a ghost mask behind him!

That was brilliant. There are no other words for that. What a fun skate!

3:41 pm – Tennell rocks the leather

Bradie Tennell, skating to a Rihanna medley, is rocking the black leather look out on ice.

Don't forget to get in touch with us @olympicchannel on Twitter with your comments on the gala!

3:33 pm – Tanaka gets the crowd clapping

A very lively, upbeat choice of music by Keiji Tanaka.

The crowd is clapping along to his routine.

He's wearing a yellow sleeveless vest, and now goes back to get his outer suit.

This is energetic!

3:28 pm – Doesn't this feel weird?

3:16 pm – Michal Brezina on ice

Czech skater Michal Brezina is the first of the elite skaters on ice. He's skating to Castaway by the Zac Brown Band.

Yes, he's wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses.

3:12 pm – Hanyu enjoying himself

It looks like Yuzuru Hanyu is enjoying himself out there. He's dancing along to the music as the skaters make their way off the ice for the invited guest skater to open the gala.

3:08 pm – Big cheers

Everyone is getting huge cheers from the crowd, but the loudest cheers are being reserved for the home skaters. Shoma Uno just got a big reception as he landed his jump during his introduction.

2:50 pm – Ten minute warning!

The gala is just ten minutes away!

The skaters will be introduced on ice for 10 minutes, before local skater Momoka Hatasaki gets us underway. The intermission will be at 4:15 pm.

2:38 pm – Meryl visits Tokyo

Meanwhile, Meryl Davis has been taking us around Tokyo to show us her favourite spots in the Japanese capital.

Here she is in Yoyogi Park, with the sakura blooming in the background.

Meryl Davis in Yoyogi Park as cherry blossoms bloom
Meryl Davis in Yoyogi Park as cherry blossoms bloomMeryl Davis in Yoyogi Park as cherry blossoms bloom

2:28 pm – Instagram takeover!

Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, where ice dance champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are taking over our Instagram stories for the day to bring you behind-the-scenes at the gala from a skater's eyes!

2:14 pm – Themed arena

It was officially declared sakura (cherry blossom) season yesterday.

No surprises for guessing what theme the organisers have gone for inside the stadium today!

The arena and ice rink in a sakura cherry blossom theme
The arena and ice rink in a sakura cherry blossom themeThe arena and ice rink in a sakura cherry blossom theme

2:01 pm – Chen exclusive

Last night, shortly after his title win, newly-crowned two-time world champion Nathan Chen sat down with Olympic Channel's Meryl Davis and figure skating journalist Jackie Wong to discuss everything that had just happened in the Saitama Super Arena.

And then he went and had dinner!

Watch the full interview below.

Nathan Chen ordered room service after winning his second world championship!
Nathan Chen ordered room service after winning his second world championship!Nathan Chen ordered room service after winning his second world championship!

1:48 pm – Fernández: Hanyu and Chen performances "outstanding"

Spaniard Fernández is in Saitama working for Japanese television as a commentator.

"It was a different experience for me to watch it from the other side, and also commentating on the guys I've been skating with and competing with," he told Meryl Davis in our exclusive live interview.

Asked what his feelings were about last night's incredible fight between Hanyu and Chen, he said: "To see Yuzu coming back after the short program with a great free program and being able to see Nathan's free program, it was outstanding. Great for the sport, great for him, and they're going to learn so much from this competition for the next years."

Fernández added: "I skated with Yuzu for many years. We actually helped each other in our careers year-by-year. As I move on from competition, I see it's going to happen with Nathan and Yuzu now. It's going to help them so much, just competing in skating and against each other."

1:35 pm – Good afternoon and welcome!

Hello and welcome to the Olympic Channel's live blog from the final day of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama!

Today is all about the exhibition gala skate, which begins at 3 pm local time.

But we've got so much more than that to bring you!

Let's begin by giving you this Olympic Channel exclusive with now-retired European champion Javier Fernández, who is in Saitama and was watching last night as Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen had a battle for the ages.

Enjoy!

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