March 25, 2017 / 8:11 AM / 7 months ago

Factbox - World championships in Helsinki

LONDON (Reuters) - Factbox ahead of the figure skating world championships in Helsinki from March 29 to April 2:

THE COMPETITION:

Four titles are up for grabs from March 29 to April 1 followed by the Exhibition of the Champions on April 2.

Thirty seven men and 38 women compete in the singles events, 29 couples in the pairs and 33 in the ice dance.

Only skaters who turned 15 before July 1, 2016 can compete in Helsinki.

The singles consist of a short programme, which has seven required elements and is worth 33.3 percent of the final score, and a free skate. The top 24 from the short programme advance to the free skate, or long programme.

The short programme can last a maximum of two minutes 40 seconds and the required elements -- designated spins, jumps and combinations -- can be performed in any order.

The free skate lasts between 3:50 and 4:10 for the women and between 4:20 and 4:40 for the men and must contain specified minimums of jumps, combinations, steps and spins.

In the pairs, two competitors skate side-by-side in unison and perform several combined elements such as lifts. The competition comprises a short programme, with seven required elements, and a longer free skate lasting between 4:20 and 4:40.

Ice dancing, skated in couples, consists of a short dance and a free dance. The International Skating Union (ISU) designates the rhythm and tempo of the short dance and couples select their own music to fit. For the free dance, lasting between 3:50 and 4:10, they can choose any music and create their own steps and style.

JUDGING

The judging system has been overhauled since a scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics when French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne confessed to, then denied, scoring the pairs contest according to her federation president’s dictum. The French federation president, Didier Gailhaguet, was banned for three years and later resigned. Under pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), officials awarded duplicate gold medals to Canadians David Pelletier and Jamie Sale who had originally been placed second.

As a result of the scandal, the old 6.0 scoring system was axed and replaced by a cumulative points system.

VENUE:

Hartwall Arena: The multi-purpose arena was built to host the 1997 ice hockey world championships and can hold up to 13,000 fans for similar sporting events.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS

Men: Javier Fernandez (Spain)

Women: Evgenia Medvedeva (Russia)

Pairs: Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (Canada)

Ice Dancing: Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (France)

SCHEDULE:

March 29:

Women’s short programme

Pairs short programme

March 30:

Men’s short programme

Pairs free skate

March 31:

Short dance

Women’s free skate

April 1:

Men’s free skate

Free dance

Reporting by Pritha Sarkar; Editing by Ken Ferris

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