The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2013 will open in London, Ontario, Canada, on March 13. London, Ontario hosts the ISU World Figure Skating Championships for the first time, but Canada hosted the Championships nine times before: in Montreal (1932), Vancouver (1960 and 2001), Calgary (1972 and 2006), Ottawa (1978 and 1984), Halifax (1990) and Edmonton (1996).  

164 skaters/couples from 41 ISU members have been entered for the Championships. Following a decision of the ISU Congress in 2012, no Preliminary Rounds are held. All skaters/couples compete in the Short Program/Short Dance and the top 24 single skaters, top 16 Pairs and 20 Ice Dance couples will proceed to the Free Skating/Free Dance. Participants need to have obtained a minimum total element score in Short Program and Free Skating in order to be eligible for the Championships.

Overview over the top contenders
All four reigning World Champions are back and aiming at defending their titles.

Challengers chase Chan (CAN)
Two-time World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN) will face stiff competition from reigning World silver medalist Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) and rising star, World bronze medalist, Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) and as well as from new European Champion Javier Fernandez (ESP). Fernandez comes with the highest seasons best score (274.87 points) to London and has landed three quadruple jumps in the Free Skating already twice this season. Takahashi got his seasons best of 269.40 points at the Grand Prix Final where he beat Hanyu and Chan. Hanyu picked up the silver in the Final and at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Osaka, Japan, last month (seasons best 264.29 points). Chan (seasons best 262.35 points) claimed bronze at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final but skipped the Four Continents Championships. Several other men are expected to challenge for the podium as well. Kevin Reynolds (CAN) comes fresh from winning the Four Continents Championships. European silver medalist Florent Amodio (FRA) and European bronze medalist Michal Brezina (CZE) are hoping for their first World medal. Veteran and 2007 World Champion Brian Joubert (FRA) should not be overlooked.

Kostner (ITA) facing Asada (JPN) and Kim (KOR)
In the Ladies event, reigning World Champion Carolina Kostner (ITA) is up against two-time World Champion Mao Asada (JPN) and Olympic Champion Yuna Kim (KOR). Asada leads the seasons best standings with 205.45 points and has landed her triple Axel again in the Short Program on her way to the title at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2013. Kostner earned her fifth European title in January (seasons best 194.71 points) while Kim is returning to the major international stage for the first time since taking silver at the 2011 World Championships. 2012 World bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki (JPN) claimed silver at the recent Four Continents Championships. Others to watch out for include European silver medalist Adelina Sotnikova (RUS), U.S. Champion Ashley Wagner (USA), European bronze medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS), Four Continents bronze medalist Kanako Murakami (JPN) as well as Gracie Gold (USA) and Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN). 2012 World silver medalist Alena Leonova (RUS) is looking to improve on her results from the Grand Prix season.

Rematch of Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER) and Volosozhar/Trankov (RUS)
The Pairs event focuses on the duel between four-time and reigning World Champions Aliona Savchenko/ Robin Szolkowy (GER) and two-time World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS). Volosozhar/Trankov scored a seasons best of 212.45 points when winning the European title in Zagreb, Croatia, earlier this year, while Savchenko/Szolkowy finished second to them with a seasons best of 205.24 points. Newly minted Four Continents Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN/seasons best 199.18 points), ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalists Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov (RUS/seasons best 201.60 points) and Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN/seasons best 192.81 points) are also in the medal hunt. Other challengers include two-time World bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS), Four Continents silver medalists Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) and European bronze medalists Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA).

Ice Dance duel between Virtue/Moir (CAN) and Davis/White (USA)
Two-time World Champions and Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) have to expect a stiff challenge from 2011 World Champions Meryl Davis/ Charlie White (USA). Davis/White have a seasons best of 187.36 points and beat Virtue/Moir at the Four Continents Championships 2013 and the ISU Grand Prix Final earlier this season. Virtue/Moir’s seasons best stands at 184.32 points. Reigning World bronze medalists Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) are eager to come back as they had missed the European Championships due to Bourzat suffering an injury (seasons best 170.18 points). The recently crowned European Champions Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS), European silver medalists Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) and bronze medalists Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) as well as 2011 World bronze medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) and 2013 Four Continents bronze medalists Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) are eying the podium as well. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN), who ranked 4th at the World Championships in 2012, are hoping to make a comeback after missing the Canadian and Four Continents Championships due to injury (Weaver).

Prize Money
The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 710,000 at the World Championships to skaters/couples placed 1st to 12th. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:

Men and Ladies                                                           Pairs and Dance (per couple)
1st place US$ 45,000                                                   1st place US$ 67,500
2nd place US$ 27,000                                                  2nd place US$ 40,500
3rd place US$ 18,000                                                   3rd place US$ 27,000
4th place US$ 13,000                                                   4th place US$ 19,500
5th place US$ 10,000                                                   5th place US$ 15,000
6th place US$ 7,000                                                     6th place US$ 10,500
7th place US$ 6,000                                                     7th place US$ 9,000
8th place US$ 5,000                                                     8th place US$ 7,500
9th place US$ 3,500                                                     9th place US$ 5,250
10th place US$ 3,000                                                   10th place US$ 4,500
11th place US$ 2,500                                                   11th place US$ 3,750
12th place US$ 2,000                                                   12th place US$ 3,000

The schedule of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2013 is as follows:
Wednesday, March 13: Pairs and Men's Short Program
Thursday, March 14: Ladies Short Program, Short Dance
Friday, March 15: Pairs and Men’s Free Skating
Saturday, March 16: Free Dance, Ladies Free Skating
Sunday, March 17: Exhibition Gala