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World figure skating championship scouting report

03/27/2012 08:08 EDT | Updated 05/27/2012 05:12 EDT
NICE, France - A scouting report on the four disciplines at this week's world figure skating championships in Nice, France:

Men's Singles

Canada's Patrick Chan boasts an undefeated streak that stretches back 15 months. He arrived in France with the season's best score of 273.94 points. He scored 302.14 points at the Canadian championships in January, becoming the first skater to top the 300 mark, but the score wasn't recognized internationally as it was a domestic event. The 2010 world champion Daisuke Takahashi of Japan is expected to be Chan's stiffest competition.

Others to watch: Reigning world silver medallist Takahiko Kozuka of Japan, Javier Fernandez of Spain (bronze medallist at the Grand Prix Final), multiple world medallist Brian Joubert of France.

Missing: Olympic gold medallist Evan Lysacek of the U.S., Russia's Evgeni Plushenko, two-time Olympic champion and bronze medallist at 2010 Vancouver Games.

Women's Singles

Two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan is expected to battle four-time European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy. Kostner, the reigning world bronze medallist, posted the seasons best score at the Grand Prix Final, while Asada took silver at the Four Continents Championships last month. Amelie Lacoste is the only Canadian entry, having narrowly beaten out Cynthia Phaneuf for the lone women's berth. Lacoste is hoping for a top-five finish.

Others to watch: Ashley Wagner won the Four Continents championships, while Japan's Akiko Suzuki, Alissa Czsiny of the U.S., and Russia's Alena Leonova are aiming for the podium.

Missing: Olympic gold medallist Kim Yu-na of South Korea.

Pairs

Three-time and reigning world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany could face a stiff challenge from last year's runners-up Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia. The Germans won the Grand Prix Final, beating the Russians narrowly by 0.18 points. Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will make their second world championship appearance after finishing seventh last year.

Others to watch: Two-time world bronze medallists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia and Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin.

Missing: Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, the 2011 Canadian champions, were eighth at the world championships last year but failed to qualify this year after a rough outing at nationals saw them finish fourth.

Ice Dance:

The world championships will be the next chapter in the battle between Canada's Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and last year's world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. Virtue and Moir won the Four Continents title, while Davis and White won the Grand Prix Final. Virtue and Moir are enjoying their first full season since 2010, as Virtue's surgery on her legs last season kept the Canadians off the competitive ice for almost the entire season.

Others to watch: Two-time European champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France, and Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, bronze medallists at the Four Continents championship.

Missing: Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia, bronze medallists at the Vancouver Olympics.

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