In the 2022/23 season, the American pair Alexa Knierim and Brandon Fraser and the Japanese pair Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara took the top positions in the world of pairs figure skating. They have dominated throughout the season, standing out for their high quality performances and skill level. However, Knierim and Fraser seem to have ended their athletic careers outside of official announcements, being absent from the Grand Prix and missing from the U.S. National Team roster.
On the other hand, Miura and Kihara of Japan continue their competitive activities and, in the absence of the Americans, could be the undisputed leaders in pairs skating, winning tournament after tournament. However, Ryuichi suffered a relapse of a back injury just before the Grand Prix rounds, forcing them to miss this important series of competitions. This was a major loss for the first part of the season.
So far, after three Grand Prix rounds, Canadian pair Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps have had the most solid results. Last year Stellato-Dudek had to be absent due to illness, which affected her performances. At the moment they are not experiencing any serious problems, and the intensified training in the off-season is paying off. They made their free skating program more difficult and performed well at their home Skate Canada event.
The pair of Conti and Macchia from Italy, the reigning European champions, started the season somewhat less successfully. Despite a successful program to the soundtrack of the movie “New Cinema Paradiso”, errors in their jumps prevented them from winning the Grand Prix stage in France. However, they still have the potential to contend for victory in the series finals.
The pair of Hocke and Künkel from Germany were able to win the Skate America stage due to experience and stability, especially after taking down their Japanese rivals. Therefore, they now have a good chance of competing in the finals.
New pairs are also showing themselves impressively, such as the pair Lia and Trennt, who started competing together only a year ago and have quickly achieved high results. They won a stage in France and qualified for the finals, although they still have room for improvement.
Overall, pairs figure skating is renewed and increasingly competitive compared to last year, showing significant progress. Many new duos are also rapidly entering the upper echelon.