Figure Skating World Championships 2019: As it happened - Tuesday

Olympic Channel are on site at #WorldFigure in Saitama as Yuzuru Hanyu returned to the ice after four months out.

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

CLICK HERE for the live blog from Wednesday.

9:09 pm – Thanks for joining us!

Thanks for following us today. Don't forget to come back tomorrow when competition gets underway with the pairs and ladies' short programs.

We'll leave you with the best soundbites from Yuzuru Hanyu's earlier press conference.

8:35 pm – Chen: "Having Hanyu and Uno here motivates me"

Nathan Chen has been speaking to Meryl Davis as well, and Meryl asked the 19-year-old Yale student about being back in familiar surroundings with his coach, Rafael Arutyunyan, at least for this week.

"It's great to see him here and and I do occasionally Facetime him when I'm struggling a little bit. I think the biggest thing that I miss (being at school) is just having a bunch of other athletes to train with. It's super nice to see Raf again, he gives me a lot of support and a lot of help in places that I didn't think I'd need them, so it's good to be here with him.

"Any time that I'm at competition I get a whole bunch of adrenaline and a whole bunch of energy just because of the audience, because of the atmosphere that I'm around, and of course that's largely based off the athletes that I'm skating with as well.

"Especially having like Yuzu, Shoma, all these amazing skaters here, really helps push me and helps motivate me to take advantage of this practice atmosphere."

8:07 pm – Learning to appreciate yourself

More from Hubbell and Donohue (see 7:39 pm). When asked by Meryl Davis about the impacts of their strong unbeaten streak at the start of this season, Donohue said he's learned to appreciate himself and his partner more.

"It starts with noticing changes in your home rink and kind of understanding that the younger teams start to look up to you. It starts to change your image of yourself, which is really cool when you start to appreciate yourself instead of always beating yourself up.

"Myself in the past, I've been the most critical of anyone you would hear around me. it's been a chance to appreciate what we bring to the table instead of always judging and constantly pushing that negative button."

7:53 pm – Happy birthday!

Austrian pairs skater Miriam Ziegler turns 25 today, and her team have been celebrating with her out in Saitama.

7:39 pm – Hubbell and Donohue look to bounce back

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue began this season in style, winning the U.S. Classic Challenger Series, Skate America and Skate Canada Grands Prix, the Grand Prix Final, and the U.S. national championships. But, after leading the rhythm dance at the Four Continents, the duo finished fourth overall following mistakes in their free dance.

But Hubbell told Meryl Davis and the Olympic Channel they are using that last surprise result as added motivation in Saitama.

"We didn't leave Four Continents with any regrets. It was kind of a nice wake up call to know that we're coming to World Championships, we don't want to leave any points on the table, and we really tightened up everything in the program."

7:01 pm – Quad loop catches Hanyu out

Yuzuru Hanyu fell on the opening quadruple loop of his run-through this evening, but his fans and the crowd can take comfort in the fact that he finished his practice skate. That's two sessions he's had on the ice today as he builds up to Thursday's short program.

6:22 pm – Hanyu back on the ice

Yuzuru Hanyu is back out there skating this evening practice, alongside teammates Shoma Uno and Keiji Tanaka. We'll have photos very soon!

6:18 pm — Evan Bates: "We felt like we came back better than ever"

After a year of change - and an injury to partner Madison Chock - Evan Bates said today in Saitama those experiences have worked out for the best.

"[It's] been a year of learning to deal with injury, with moving to a foreign country, changing coaches, and I think all-in-all we’ve done a good job to roll with it and make the most of," the two-time Olympian said. "For example, the recovery, we were disappointed to sit out half the season, but then when we did come back, we felt like we came back better than ever with a fresh look and noticeable improvement in our skating."

The American duo will be hoping that improvement will land them once again on the podium, after having taken silver and bronze at the 2015 and 2016 Worlds, respectively.

Evan Bates and Madison Chock after practice in Saitama
Evan Bates and Madison Chock after practice in SaitamaEvan Bates and Madison Chock after practice in Saitama

6:13 pm – 'We're grown ups now'

We've been having a word with French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. It's exactly five years since their first World Championships, which also came here in Saitama. Since then, they have won three world titles, and the duo have been reflecting on that.

"It’s funny because we arrived here yesterday and I thought it was the exact same place as five years ago – the exact same hotel, the exact same arena, everything the same. Last time we were here, it was our first World Championships. And it was funny because our life was totally different than it is now. We were still in France. We didn’t have any expectations coming here. So much has happened since but it’s still the same place, the same competition but with totally different people," Papadakis said.

Cizeron added: "It’s funny to make the comparison with five years (ago). We were so young. We feel like – not old – but grown ups now."

Don't forget to check our Instagram page on Sunday, when Papadakis and Cizeron will be taking over to take you behind the scenes at the exhibition gala!

Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis of France
Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis of FranceGuillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis of France

6:05 pm – Toronto Cricket Club in the house

5:50 pm – Practice about to start

The day's evening practice sessions for the singles are about to get underway. The ladies' session begins at 6 pm, while the men's starts at 6:15 pm.

5:29 pm – Full skating order

4:53 pm – Japanese skaters in final group

The three Japanese skaters: Rika Kihira, Kaori Sakamoto, and Satoko Miyahara, will all skate in the final group in the short program. They are joined by the Olympic gold and silver medallists Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, as well as the United States' Bradie Tennell.

They will skate in the following order: Sakamoto, Tennell, Miyahara, Medvedeva, Kihira, Zagitova.

(Left to right) Kaori Sakamoto, Rika Kihira, and Satoko Miyahara pose after the draw for the ladies' short program.
(Left to right) Kaori Sakamoto, Rika Kihira, and Satoko Miyahara pose after the draw for the ladies' short program.(Left to right) Kaori Sakamoto, Rika Kihira, and Satoko Miyahara pose after the draw for the ladies' short program.

3:46 pm – Yuzuru Hanyu recap

We've recapped the main talking points from Yuzuru Hanyu's earlier press conference in our article here.

3:10 pm – More from Jason Brown

There's more from our chat with Jason Brown (see 1:55 pm) from today.

Like Evgenia Medvedeva, this was Brown's first season training under Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson in Toronto, and he told Meryl Davis about preparing for the Worlds in a season with such big changes.

"It kind of feels like the start of this new chapter but actually the week leading into Worlds, I was having these moments of freak out because I feel like there’s so much more that I’m covering and learning about myself each day and about all the changes that we’re making.

"It’s crazy to make it through an entire season with all this change. I couldn’t have imagined doing it a year ago so the fact that I’m here almost the very end of the whole season with a new team feels great but I’m just so thrilled to be here and to be with them and four other of my teammates."

2:41 pm – Work of art, part II

Sweden's Alexander Majorov has been out and about discovering Tokyo and the city's creative baristas, it seems.

2:15 pm – Hanyu: "I almost burned it all"

More from Hanyu's press conference earlier, where he admitted being sidelined by his ankle injury — sustained at the Rostelecom Cup in November — was tough to take.

"To be honest, during the competition in Russia, I almost burned it all. It was very difficult and it was a big decision to skate the free program.

"When I completed the program in Russia I feel like I released what was burning in my mind, but it was very difficult when I was just watching competitions and couldn't participate.

"It was like I had oil and fire but it was burning in a small room. Since I finally started preparing for big competitions like this and being at the venue, I feel like I have become a shining fire burning in a big room.

"So I just want to enjoy skating. I believe victory is the most important thing that an athlete must have but it’s not about just beating others, but overcoming yourself and your burning desire to win."

1:55 pm – A message from Jason Brown

We've been speaking to Jason Brown, who has this message for you, his fans:

"I just really want to say thank you for all the support. I hope they know how much I love them. When I go out there and skate, I really want you guys enjoy the performances. I’m putting this out for you guys. You guys celebrate skating and embrace it and so I just want to say thank you for that. I know all the skaters are so thrilled to be here and to be in Japan."

Jason also spoke to Meryl Davis two months ago at U.S. nationals, and you can watch that interview below.

1:32 pm – Work of art

Thanks to @ArtWillard on Twitter, who tagged us in his amazing work of art featuring Misha Ge and other skaters.

Don't forget to get in touch with us on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @olympicchannel in your posts!

1:07 pm – Throwback Tuesday

Okay, so he actually posted this on Monday, but Olympic team event champion Eric Radford of Canada, who retired after PyeongChang 2018, is in Japan and posted a flashback to the 2014 Worlds in the same arena, when he won pairs bronze alongside Meagan Duhamel.

12:39 pm — Friendly rivalry

Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno joked with media during the Japanese men's press conference, saying “thanks for being considerate and asking me a question!” after an opening flurry of questions directed to teammate Yuzuru Hanyu.

Shoma Uno laughs during Team Japan press conference
Shoma Uno laughs during Team Japan press conferenceShoma Uno laughs during Team Japan press conference

12:09 pm — "I have to be careful with preparation," Hanyu says.

“My target is to put my practice into the skate and give everything I have. I have to be careful with preparation, try slowly to get back to full fitness." - Yuzuru Hanyu

Team Japan faces the media after practice
Team Japan faces the media after practiceTeam Japan faces the media after practice

12:04 pm — Hanyu says thank you for support

Yuzuru Hanyu opened the Japanese men's press conference this afternoon at Worlds by thanking everyone for their support.

"I’m not thinking about the next Olympics right now because I need to concentrate for this competition," he also said in English, "so I can’t say any comment outside this competition so I’m sorry about that. I will do my best in this competition."

Yuzuru Hanyu, left, Shoma Uno, middle, and Keiji Tanaka, right, pose before a press conference
Yuzuru Hanyu, left, Shoma Uno, middle, and Keiji Tanaka, right, pose before a press conferenceYuzuru Hanyu, left, Shoma Uno, middle, and Keiji Tanaka, right, pose before a press conference

11:55 am — Standby for Japanese press conference

The Japanese men will face the media momentarily in Saitama. Stay tuned for updates!

Media gathered in Saitama to hear from the Japanese men
Media gathered in Saitama to hear from the Japanese menMedia gathered in Saitama to hear from the Japanese men

11:29 am — Shoma shines

Along with Hanyu, Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno is a podium hope for Japan in the men's competition and he just put down a clean run through of his short program in practice.

Catch Shoma in our new original series, Is It Possible?, where we explore whether we will ever see a figure skater land a five-rotation jump. Full episode here.

11:21 am — Hanyu thrills during first practice

11:06 am – Yuzuru Hanyu: "I haven't totally recovered, but I have done everything I could."

In an interview with Fuji TV, Yuzuru Hanyu admits he hasn't fully recovered but feels comfortable enough to compete in Saitama, ending speculation that the Olympic and two-time World champion may not take part in competition this week.

"I have recovered well enough to be able to land the loop," he said. "Of course, it was difficult for me mentally at times. I believe I have recovered well enough to perform as much as I feel comfortable with."

Though Hanyu had an injury to his right ankle leading to the PyeongChang Games in 2018, he says the injury sustained at November's Rostelecom Cup was different.

"It was a different injury from the last time," he said. "So, it was frustrating and difficult for me because of different healing and recovery processes."

Adding, "I believe suffering is prelude to happiness. So that's why I could've made it so far."

11:02 am – The moment Saitama's been waiting for...

Has finally arrived! Double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu is on the ice for his first practice with several thousand fans in the arena to get a look at their hometown hero.

Where can we get this bag?
Where can we get this bag? Where can we get this bag?

10:33 am – Legend meets legend

Reigning ladies Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia ran into 2014 ice dance Olympic gold medallist Meryl Davis backstage in Saitama. It was the first time the two Olympic gold medallists had met 🤗

Olympic champions Alina Zagitova, left, and Meryl Davis, right, meet at the World Figure Skating Championships
Olympic champions Alina Zagitova, left, and Meryl Davis, right, meet at the World Figure Skating ChampionshipsOlympic champions Alina Zagitova, left, and Meryl Davis, right, meet at the World Figure Skating Championships

10:20 am – Evgenia Medvedeva: "Every moment, I feel much more confident in myself."

Meryl Davis caught up to Olympic silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia after her morning practice her in Saitama. Here's what she had to say:

For me, everything feels different. Every moment, I feel much more confident in myself. I feel support from everywhere: from my fans, from my family, from my coaches and choreographers. Just look at them – they are here. They’re always with me and they give me much more power to live. - Evgenia Medvedeva

Meryl Davis chats with Evgenia Medvedeva after practice
Meryl Davis chats with Evgenia Medvedeva after practiceMeryl Davis chats with Evgenia Medvedeva after practice

9:58 am – Live with Olympic champ Meryl Davis

We were live with 2014 Olympic champion Meryl Davis on Twitter this morning, previewing all the exciting action to come in Saitama. Make sure to stay for Meryl's gold medal picks in all four disciplines!

9:52 am – We're back!

Good morning, skating fans! We're back at the Saitama Super Arena where in just about an hour we expect to see double Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu take the ice. This will be the first time we've seen him since an injury to his right ankle at November's Rostelecom Cup. Stay tuned!

Saitama Super Arena readies for Hanyu on second day of practice from World Figure Skating Championships
Saitama Super Arena readies for Hanyu on second day of practice from World Figure Skating ChampionshipsSaitama Super Arena readies for Hanyu on second day of practice from World Figure Skating Championships

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