A quick look at what to expect during this week's skating worlds

With the 2019 Figure Skating Worlds set to kick off on the 18th of March in Saitama, Japan, here’s what to expect each day as the championships unfold. All times listed are local to Saitama, which is GMT+9.

Monday and Tuesday, March 18-19

The 18th and 19th are official practice days in Saitama. It will be the first chance to gauge how double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu looks after being out of competition since injuring his ankle at November’s Rostelecom Cup.

Click for Olympic Channel's live blog coverage from Saitama: Monday and Tuesday

Wednesday, March 20

Click here for Olympic Channel's live blog coverage from Saitama on Wednesday.

What: Pairs short program
When: 9 a.m.
2018 World Champion: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
2018 Olympic Champion: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA)
Current segment world record holder: Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 78.47 at the 2018 Rostelecom Cup

Look out for: The pairs competition looks to be a battle between France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres and Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. The French pair has at time battled inconsistencies, mounting an impressive comeback to win the Grand Prix Final gold after finishing fourth in the short program. Look to see if they can hold their nerves and skate cleanly here during the short.

What: Ladies’ short program
When: 2:55 p.m.
2018 World Champion: Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN)
2018 Olympic Champion: Alina Zagitova (RUS)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Rika Kihira (JPN)
Current segment world record holder: Rika Kihira (JPN), 82.51 at the 2018 Grand Prix Final

Look out for: With reigning champ Osmond not competing, the worlds will once again be a battle between rising star Rika Kihira and Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova. Both have struggled with consistency. Most recently, Kihira singled a triple axel attempt during the short program at the Four Continents Championships. Both Kihira and Zagitova will need clean skates in the short program to hold off challengers like Russia’s Sofia Samodurova and Japan’s Satoko Miyahara.

16-year-old Rika Kihira hopes to improve quad jumps for next season

16-year-old Rika Kihira hopes to improve quad jumps for next season

Thursday, March 21

Click here for Olympic Channel's live blog coverage from Saitama on Thursday.

What: Pairs’ free skate
When: 10 a.m.
2018 World Champion: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
2018 Olympic Champion: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA)
Current segment world record holder: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA), 149.11 at the 2019 European Championships. James and Cipres also hold the combined total at 225.66, also set at the Europeans.

Look out for: The free skate is likely to be battle between James and Cipres and Russian’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. There’s a lot at stake for both: if the French pair can continue their winning ways, they will become the first to do so for their country since Andree Joly-Brunet and Pierre Brunet in 1932. A Russian pair hasn’t claimed the title at the worlds since 2013.

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What: Men’s short program
When: 2:55 p.m.
2018 World Champion: Nathan Chen (USA)
2018 Olympic Champion: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Nathan Chen (USA)
Current segment world record holder: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), 110.53 at the 2018 Rostelecom Cup

Look out for: The trio of Nathan Chen, Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno. The men’s short program will be the first time these three men have faced off on the same ice since last year’s PyeongChang Olympic Games.

Friday, March 22

Click here for Olympic Channel's live blog coverage from Saitama on Friday.

What: Rhythm dance
When: 10:45 a.m.
2018 World Champion: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2018 Olympic Champion: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA)
Current segment world record holder: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), 84.79), at the 2019 European Championships

Look out for: While Papadakis and Cizeron come to Saitama as the heavy favorites, they’ll need to be at their best to hold off two strong American teams. U.S. champions Hubbell and Donohue took advantage of the French’s absence at the Grand Prix Final to take that title. Madison Chock and Evan Bates gave training mates Hubbell and Donohue a run for their money at January’s U.S. champs. Expect the top three to be nearly tied going into the free dance.

What: Ladies’ free skate
When: 5:30 p.m.
2018 World Champion: Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN)
2018 Olympic Champion: Alina Zagitova (RUS)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Rika Kihira (JPN)
Current segment world record holder: Alina Zagitova (RUS), 158.50 at the Nebelhorn Trophy. She also set the combined total record, 238.43, at the Nebelhorn Trophy.
Look out for: The ladies’ title will likely come down to who can hold their nerve through the long program. Both Zagitova and Kihira have struggled with consistency this season. Kihira has the potential to put up a huge technical components score, if she goes for two triple axels. If she does, Zagitova will likely need a flawless skate to challenge.

Saturday, March 23

Click here for Olympic Channel's live blog coverage from Saitama on Saturday.

What: Free dance
When: 12:30 p.m.
2018 World Champion: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2018 Olympic Champion: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)
2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA)
Current segment world record holder: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), 133.19 at the 2019 European Championships. Their 217.98 total at Europeans is also the current world record

Look out for: The ice dance champions will likely need a flawless performance to win. Any mistake could be costly, such as the one Hubbell and Donohue suffered in their free dance in February at the Four Continents Championships. One of their stationary lifts was devalued to base value, opening the door for Chock and Bates to take the title. If they hope to be the first Americans to take the crown since Davis and White, they’ll need to avoid any mistakes.

What: Men’s free skate

When: 5:30 p.m.

2018 World Champion: Nathan Chen (USA)

2018 Olympic Champion: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)

2018 Grand Prix Final Champion: Nathan Chen (USA)

Current segment world record holder: Shoma Uno (JPN), 197.36 at the 2019 Four Continents Championships. Yuzuru Hanyu holds the combined score record, 297.12, from the 2018 Grand Prix of Helsinki

Look out for: Quads. This season’s expanded grade of execution marks increase the complexity of the risk versus reward calculation. Still, expect the top men in the free skate to perform three, four or even five quadruple jumps. The free skate will also be the biggest test for Hanyu, who hasn’t competed a long program since 17 November.

Japanese figure skater Shoma Uno focused on eliminating errors before worlds

Japanese figure skater Shoma Uno focused on eliminating errors before worlds

Sunday, March 24

Click here for Olympic Channel's live blog coverage from Saitama on Sunday.

What: Exhibition gala

When: 3:00 p.m.

Schedule at a glance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
DaySegmentTime (local)2018 World Champion2018 Olympic Champion2018 Grand Prix Final ChampionCurrent world record holder
March 20Pairs, short program9:00 a.m.Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA)Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 78.47
 Ladies, short program2:55 p.m.Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN)Alina Zagitova (OAR)Rika Kihira (JPN)Rika Kihira (JPN), 82.51
March 21Pairs, free skate10:00 a.m.Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA)Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA), 149.11
 Men’s, short program2:55 p.m.Nathan Chen (USA)Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)Nathan Chen (USA)Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), 110.53
March 22Ice dance, rhythm dance10:45 a.m.Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA)Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), 84.79
 Ladies, free skate5:30 p.m.Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN)Alina Zagitova (OAR)Rika Kihira (JPN)Alina Zagitova (RUS), 158.50
March 23Ice dance, free dance12:30 p.m.Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA)Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), 133.19
 Men’s, free skate5:30 p.m.Nathan Chen (USA)Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)Nathan Chen (USA)Shoma Uno (JPN), 197.36

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