The past three World junior champion teams in ice dance have been from Russia. And true to their record, the host country of the Winter Olympics next year will have the favorites coming in to this week’s 2013 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Milan, Italy.
Related: Ice dance results
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the dance title at Junior Worlds has been won by either Russia (12) or the United States (6) in all but two of those 20 times. If this season’s results have been any indication, the podium should be dominated by those two countries.
Here’s a look at the teams to watch in ice dance this week at Junior Worlds.
Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton USA – The two-time U.S. champions are the reigning bronze medalist at this event. They look to be the most viable non-Russian challengers for gold this week.
Mackenzie Bent/Garrett Mackeen CAN – The Canadian junior silver medalists took the bronze at JGP Austria.
Madeline Edwards/Zhao Kai Pang CAN – They are the Canadian junior champions and won bronze in two Junior Grand Prix events earlier this season.
Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker USA – Silver medalists at U.S. Nationals on the junior level, Hawayek/Baker also took silver at JGP Germany.
Shari Koch/Christian Nuechtern GER – The three-time German junior champs actually defeated Papadakis/Cizeron at NRW Trophy this season.
Evgenia Kosigina/Nikolai Moroshkin RUS – Silver all the way this season, it seems – Kosigina/Moroshkin won two silvers on the JGP and then another silver at Russian Junior Nationals. They were sixth at Junior Worlds two years ago.
Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter USA – The U.S. junior bronze medalists make their Junior Worlds debut this week.
Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron FRA – The rising stars in French ice dance were fifth last year at Junior Worlds. They won two JGPs this seasons, with a silver at the Final.
Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin RUS – Hands down, the favorite of the event, the reigning silver medalists have won everything this season. They did, however, withdraw from the Russian Junior Championships from illness.
Valeria Zenkova/Valerie Sinitsin RUS – The Russian junior champs won JGP Croatia and took silver at JGP Courchevel before taking fifth in the Final.
ICE DANCE (Entrants as of 2/26/2013)
- Laura Abts/Maarten Buckens BEL
- Sara Aghai/Jussiville Partanen FIN
- Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton USA
- Johanna Allik/Paul Michael Bellantuono EST
- Mackenzie Bent/Garrett Mackeen CAN
- Anna Bolshem/Ronald Zilberberg ISR
- Alessia Busi/Andrea Fabbri ITA
- Cagla Demirsal/Berk Akalin TUR
- Madeline Edwards/Zhao Kai Pang CAN
- Estelle Elizabeth/Romain Le Gac FRA
- Carina Glastris/Nicholas Lettner GRE
- Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker USA
- Olga Jakushina/Aleksandrs Grishins LAT
- Viktoria Kavaliova/Yurii Bieliaiev BLR
- Rebeka Kim/Kirill Minov KOR
- Liliana Kiraly/Szabolcs Nagy HUN
- Shari Koch/Christian Nuechtern GER
- Evgenia Kosigina/Nikolai Moroshkin RUS
- Nicole Kuzmich/Jordan Hockley SLO
- Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter USA
- Anna Nagornyuk/Viktor Kovalenko UZB
- Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin UKR
- Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron FRA
- Karolina Prochazkova/Michal Ceska CZE
- Celia Robledo/Luis Fenero ESP
- Ria Schiffner/Julian Salatzki GER
- Sofia Sforza/Francesco Fioretti ITA
- Olivia Smart/Joseph Buckland GBR
- Christine Smith/Simon Eisenbauer AUT
- Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin RUS
- Slavyana Tsenova/Egor Zaytsev BUL
- Lolita Yermak/Alexei Khimich UKR
- Joanna Zajac/Cezary Zawadski POL
- Valeria Zenkova/Valerie Sinitsin RUS
- Yiyi Zhang/Nan Wu CHN