Figure skating-World championships in Helsinki

Reuters

LONDON, March 25 (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.

DEFFENDING 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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