MONTREAL, CANADA (March 20, 2024) – The 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships got off to a roaring start on Wednesday at the Bell Centre in Montreal with Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps dominating the pair short program, and all Canadian skaters qualifying for the next phase of the competition.

Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps delivered a flawless skate to finish the short program in first place with a new season’s best score of 77.48 – almost four points ahead of last year’s World Champions – Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan who sit second with 73.53 points. Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii of Italy sit third with 72.88 points.

“It was great today. With the crowd supporting us it helped us get through the second half of the program – it gave us great energy,” said Deschamps who together with Stellato-Dudek entered the competition as gold medallists from the ISU Four Continents Championships and Canadian Championships. “We had a lot of friends and family here, and I had some of my students here as well, so it was really fun to be able to perform in front of them.”

Kelly Ann Laurin of St-Jérome, Que., and Loucas Éthier of Deux-Montagnes, Que., were the first Canadian skaters to take the ice and the crowd erupted with support for the pair who finished the day in 14th place with a new personal best score of 60.18.

“After our more technical elements were done, I was just living the moment and having fun,” said Éthier who took home bronze from this year’s Canadian Championships with Laurin. “I know for a fact there were some movements I didn’t even put in the program because I was just looking at the crowd and having fun. I could sometimes hear very specific friends, or members of my family cheering, and that was really special.”

Also thrilling the Canadian crowds were Lia Pereira of Milton, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont., who finished the day in 9th place with a score of 64.83.

“Emotions were definitely running high, but I think we did a great job handing that,” said Pereira who together with Michaud entered the competition as gold medallists from the Grand Prix de France. “The short program felt amazing. All the elements went according to plan, and just to feel the energy of the home crowd was so amazing and it’s something I’m never going to forget.”

Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., was the only Canadian competitor in the women’s short program. She finished the day in 17th position with a score of 59.65 after skating a strong program, but with a few technical difficulties.

“It was amazing skating in front of a Canadian audience, but it wasn’t the skate, nor the score that I was hoping for,” said Schizas who finished 13th at the 2023 World Championships. “I’ve skated clean short programs for weeks, so there was no reason that should have happened today, but it did. I was maybe a little bit too excited – I was quite nervous, but I’m just going to take this as a learning experience for the free.”

Loena Hendrickx of Belgium, last year’s bronze medallist, leads the women heading into the free program on Friday with a new personal best score of 76.98. Isabeau Levito of the USA sits second with 73.73 – another personal best score, and Haein Lee of South Korea, last year’s silver medallist, sits in third with a score of 73.55.

The men’s short program starts day two of the competition at the World Championships on Thursday, followed by the pair free skate. Friday will see the beginning of the ice dance competition, followed by the women’s free program. The competition will wrap up on Saturday with the free dance portion of the ice dance competition, and the men’s free skate.

For full results please click here