Helsinki hosts the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017, the qualifying event for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The contest sees French, Canadian, Spanish and Russian champions defending their 2016 titles, and an anti-trust skirmish between the ISU (International Skating Union) and the European Commission (EC).
France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were placed first in Ice Dance at the 2016 ISU World Championships, held in the United States. The Canadian pair, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the pairs competition. Spanish skater Javier Fernandez won the men's competition, and Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva won the women's.
NBC Sports noted after the 2016 championship that of the 12 women's medals awarded at the 2014 Olympics and 2014, 2015 and 2016 Worlds, half have been earned by six different Russians. The broadcaster observed that the results speak to Russia's utter dominance but also its incredible turnover at the top.
The ISU-European Commission skirmish centres on the European Commission's anti-trust investigation of the ISU's eligibility rules prohibiting skaters from participating in unauthorised events that are not on the ISU international calendar. The ISU plans to argue that the specific nature of sports governance as applied in its rules is perfectly compliant with European Union competition law.
The ISU describes the championship as the most prestigious and important international figure skating competition of the year. Figure skaters in one of four disciplines -men, ladies, pairs and ice dance - are entered into the championships by country. Each country's skating association may enter one or more skater/team in each event if their skaters performed well at the previous year's world championships.
Date written/update: 2016-09-28