The ISU World Figure Skating Championships are unique in that no points are carried into the event. What happens on the day of competition determines the result. It's an all or nothing scenario.
It was a fun challenge to try and limit myself to only 10 performances for this list. It was a question of trying to find skaters and their performances at worlds that left an impression that has been carried forward. The one thing that all of the skaters on this list have in common is that they distinguished themselves in some way. The fact that they were able to do this at the world championships makes for even bigger stories.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 "shock and/or awe" moments at worlds:Kristi Yamaguchi (United States) wins 1991 ladies title in MunichWhy:
Only clean sweep by one country in the ladies event.
Kristi led the brigade for the U.S. ladies' sweep of the podium - the only time in the history of ladies skating at the world championships that a single country has taken all three medals. This would be the first of her two world titles. She also won the Olympic title in 1992. This event was also significant from a Canadian perspective in that Yamaguchi and Edmonton's Royal Glenora Club training mate Kurt Browning both captured world titles, with Browning winning his third of 4 in his career.Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada) take 2009 ice dance bronze in Los AngelesWhy:
Most astonishing recovery from injury.
Having taken most of the season off for a second surgery to repair Virtue's shins, the defending world silver medallists showed up in Los Angeles intent on competing. In an amazing show of determination and after only two complete run-throughs of their free dance that season (both in competition) they came through with a bronze medal.Patrick Chan (Canada) wins 2011 men's title in MoscowWhy:
Highest recorded score in history.
On his way to capturing the men's title for the first time after two silver medals, Chan posted the highest- ever scores in the short program, the free program and overall. This feat earned him three Guinness Book of World Records citations.Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov (USSR) win 1986 pairs title Worlds in Geneva, SwitzerlandWhy:
Only back-to-back junior and senior champions.
Gordeeva and Grinkov are the only team to win the junior and senior pairs world titles in back-to-back seasons. This was their first senior world title. They would go on to win four world titles in total, three European titles and two Olympic titles before Grinkov's untimely death from a massive heart attack on in 1995 caused by a congenital heart defect.Midori Ito (Japan) finishes fourth in 1991 ladies event in MunichWhy:
Best comeback in competition.
Ito was having a bad day. She collided in warm-ups with another competitor (Laetitia Hubert of France) and then jumped out of the rink during a combination, landing on a corner TV camera. Miraculously, she hopped right back on the ice and continued skating. She has the distinction of being the first woman to perform a triple Axel in competition. She is also the first Japanese woman to win the world championships, which she did in Paris in 1989.Kurt Browning (Canada) finishes sixth in 1988 men's event in BudapestWhy:
First quad landed in competition.
One way a skater can set himself apart from the competition is by being the first to perform a jump. In the month following the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Browning did just that and earned his place in the history books by hitting the first quad, a toe, in ISU competition.Don Jackson (Canada) wins 1962 men's title in PragueWhy:
First triple Lutz landed in competition.
In 1962 Jackson stunned the skating world by winning the world title with one of the greatest performances of all time, receiving seven perfect scores. He performed the first triple Lutz in competition, which was seen half a world away on TV by Canadians. 1962 was the first time that the worlds were broadcast on TV in Canada.Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (Great Britain) win 1982 ice dance title in CopenhagenWhy:
Legends in the making.
Torvill and Dean claimed their second of four consecutive world titles in 1982. They have become the standard by which all other dancers are measured. The bar they set with their "Mac and Mabel" routine was high enough to make it a classic that stands the test of time. Torvill and Dean went on to become the 1984 Olympic champions and take an Olympic bronze during their comeback in 1994.
Beatrix "Trixi" Schuba (Austria) wins 1972 ladies title in Calgary
Technical master of a now-lost art.
You'll have to trust me that nobody has ever skated school figures like Trixi Schuba. She skated at my rink one summer, and to look at her circles you would have no idea she had re-traced them three or four times. They all looked the same: like she had only done each circle once. The thing was that with a 60 per cent value on school figures in her day, when she took the lead she was near impossible to catch. This was the case in each of her two world titles as well as her Olympic title in 1972. After taking an insurmountable lead in Calgary, she was able to stay ahead of future world champion Karen Magnussen of Canada, who took silver, and equally brilliant American rival Janet Lynn, who got the bronze. The ISU would decrease the weight of school figures from 60 per cent to 20 per cent eventually, and figures were performed for the final time at the 1990 worlds in Halifax.Tara Lipinski (United States) wins 1997 ladies title in LausanneWhy:
World champion, no driver's license.
At the 1996 worlds in Edmonton, the buzz had already started about Lipinski. She placed 15th at the tender age of 13 years old. When the ISU voted later that year to increase the age for participation at Worlds to 15, Lipinski was still allowed to compete in 1997 courtesy of being "grandfathered" in. Like a roman candle, she burned brightly. Lipinski took the lead after the short program and claimed the top podium spot overall as the youngest ladies world champion ever. Lipinski would go on to win the Olympic title the following year.
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