Olympic Qualifying Competition – Oberstdorf (GER), Review
22 skaters and couples from 17 ISU Members secured a spot at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games for their country at the designated qualifying competition, the Nebelhorn Trophy, Oberstdorf (GER) September 24 to 26.
The maximum number of entries for the Olympic Winter Games is 30 for Ladies and Men, 20 for Pairs and 24 for Ice Dancing. According to ISU regulations, 24 entries in the Singles’ events and 16 in the Pairs’ event as well as 19 in the Ice Dance event have been determined at the 2009 ISU World Championships in Los Angeles (USA). The remaining open entries available now have been filled by ISU members in order of their placements at the Nebelhorn Trophy. The open entries were available only to those countries which have not previously earned an entry in the respective discipline.
In the event that ISU members do not exercise their right to announce their participation for the Olympic Winter Games withhin the IOC date limit, in accordance with ISU rules, stand-by entries will be chosen based on the final results of the Nebelhorn Trophy for those members not qualified and not yet represented.
Pairs, Short and Free Program
Germany’s World Champions Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy claimed victory in the Pairs event ahead of Tatiana Volosozhar/Stanislav Morozov of the Ukraine and Canadians Anabelle Langlois/Cody Hay. The top three couples were not in the qualifying process. Savchenko/Szolkowy put out an excellent Short Program to “Send in the Clowns”, reeling off a high throw triple flip, a side by side triple toeloop and level four spins. The Germans struggled with some elements in their long program to “You’ll never be alone”. Savchenko doubled the triple toeloop and Salchow and also stepped out of the throw triple flip, but hit the throw triple Salchow at the vey end of the 4.30 minutes routine. The two-time World Champions earned a level four for their lifts and spins and scored 113.19 points for the Free Skating. Overall they got 185.99 points. “The Nebelhorn Trophy was a test event for us, but we had in the back of our minds that we have to win”, Szolkowy said. “We won and we tested, and we know now what to work on. There were a few crucial points in our program, but I I think we can sleep calmly tonight”, he added. Volosozhar/Morozov had a few problems with their side by side jumps as well. Both missed a triple toeloop and their triple Salchow was not clean. But the Ukrainians impressed with their huge triple throws and difficult spins. They picked up 106.29 points and remained in second place at 165.75 points. Langlois/Hay came back to competition after missing the past season. Langlois had broken her ankle in July 2008. Their Free Skating routine to “The Grand Canyon Suite” included a throw triple Salchow, a side by side triple toeloop and difficulf lifts, but she fell on the triple Salchow and the throw triple Lutz. The Canadians scored 155.61 points overall.
The following countries qualified a Pairs team each for the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver: SUI with Anais Morand/Antoine Dorsaz (5th place/151.95 points), EST with Maria Sergejeva/Ilja Glebov (9th place/134.56 points), POL with Joanna Sulej/Mateusz Chruscinski (10th place/131.29 points) and ITA with Marika Zanforlin/Federico Degli Esposti (11th place/120.46 points). The first three standby entries are in the following order PRK, TPE and GRE.
Ladies, Short and Free Skating
Alissa Czisny (USA) earned her second consecutive gold medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy ahead of Kiira Korpi (FIN) and Yan Liu (CHN). While the USA and Finland already have qualified two entries for the Ladies event, Liu assured China a spot for Vancouver.
Czisny led after the Short Program with an elegant and technical performance to “The Mask of Zorro”. However, the U.S. Champion struggled with some jumps in the lyrical Free Program “Dr. Zhivago”. She stepped out of her triple Lutz and a triple loop, flip and toeloop were downgraded by the Technical Panel. Czisny scored highly for her difficult spins that were all graded a level four. The American received 91.02 points for her Free Skating and was ranked sixth in this segment but overall held on to first place at 151.40 points. “I love coming to this competition,” Czisny commented. "My short was good, but my long was just OK. I'll look at the protocol and see what I have to work on.”
Korpi, who competed for the first time in Oberstdorf, had skated first out of 33 Ladies in the Short Progam on Friday morning but put out a solid performance to finish second. The 2007 European bronze medallist landed a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination, a triple loop and two double Axel, but singled two other jumps and a triple Lutz was cheated and downgraded. Korpi scored 91.67 points in the Free Skating and remained in second place with a total of 150.01 points. Liu was ranked fifth in the Short Program with a good performance and topped that with her long program set to the Chinese movie soundtrack “Why are the Flowers So Red”. Liu reeled off six triple jumps to win the Free Skating portion with 99.69 points and to moved up to third place at147.87 points.
The other ISU members that qualified an entry for the Olympic Winter Games are HUN with Julia Sebestyen (4th place/146.76 points), SLO with Teodora Postic (5th place/139.97 points), AUT with Miriam Ziegler (6th place/132.38 points), ESP with Sonia Lafuente (8th place/130.30 points) and BEL with Isabelle Piemann (11th place/123.74 points). An additional, seventh, spot became available for ISR (Tamar Katz/12th place/121,49 points) as Georgia officially returned their second entry.
The first three standby entries are, in the following order, CZE, UZB and AUS.
Ice Dance, Compulsory, Original and Free Dance
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) danced to victory easily and never relinquished their strong lead. The reigning Four Continents Champions started off with a solid Tango Romantica Compulsory Dance. For the “Folk/Country Dance” in the Original Dance, the Americans chose an Indian theme. They earned a level three for the circular and side by side footwork and a level four for their curve lift and the sequential twizzles. Performing to “Phantom of the Opera”, Davis/White put out a captivating performance, showing off great speed and spectacular lifts including a straight line-rotational lift that covered almost the whole ice surface from one end of the boards to the other. The couple was awarded a level four for two lifts, the twizzles and the combination spin and a level three for both step sequences. Only the last rotational lift was graded a level one. Davis/White picked up 100.76 points for this performance and took the gold with 200.46 points. “It was perfect timing to start the season with this competition. We still have a long way to go, but we felt very comfortable here”, White told the press. “Obviously this in an important year, being the Olympic season. We’ve put in a lot of work in the off season and we are picking off where we had left off last year”, he added. Alexandra Zaretski/Roman Zaretski of Israel came in second. They had picked a Jewish Dance with “Hava Nagila” for the OD. Their Free Dance to “Schindler’s List” featured three level-four lifts, and level-four twizzles. The circular footwork was graded a level three, but the combination spin and the diagonal step sequence were a level two. The brother-and-sister team go 84.54 points for their Free Dance and accumulated a total of 169.59 points. Lithuania’s Katherine Copely/Deividas Stagniunas were ranked fourth in the Tango Romantica but then were third with their Lithuanian Polka OD and their West Side Story Free Dance to claim the bronze. The three top couples weren’t competing for an Olympic spot.
The following ISU members earned a spot: CHN with Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng (5th place/149.85 points), CZE with Lucie Mysliveckova/Matej Novak (6th place/148.47 points), HUN with Nora Hoffmann/Maxim Zavozin (7th place/148.43 points), EST with Caitlin Mallory/Kristian Rand (8th place/143.49 points) and GEO with Allison Reed/Otar Japaridze (12th place/ 130.76 points).
There is only one standby entry, GRE.
For full results please see: www.isu.org
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt