Volosozhar and Trankov, Ando lead Nebelhorn rushMore than 150 skaters to grace ice at Olympic qualifier in Oberstdorf
The last remaining spots for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, are at stake at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Sept. 25-28. Nebelhorn Trophy, the traditional fall event, is the International Skating Union's (ISU) designated senior international figure skating qualifying competition, as it was in 2009.
The maximum number of entrants for the Olympic Winter Games is 30 for ladies and men, 20 for pairs and 24 for ice dance couples. Twenty-four spots for men and ladies, 16 spots for pairs and 19 spots for ice dancers were determined according to the results of the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships. The remaining open entries (six men, six ladies, four pairs and five ice dance couples) are available only to ISU members which have not earned an entry in the respective discipline. Only one entry per discipline and country may be earned in Oberstdorf.
A total of 154 skaters from 50 ISU members have been entered for Nebelhorn Trophy. The event is open to other skaters whose countries have earned entries for the Olympic Games already, but they are not eligible to qualify for additional spots.
Overview of the competitors
A total of 34 men have been entered, with 26 men competing for an Olympic berth. The top contenders are Nobunari Oda (JPN) and 2013 world junior silver medalist Jason Brown (USA).
The ladies event features 36 entries, with 29 of them eligible to qualify an entry for Sochi. Two-time European bronze medalist Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO) hopes to qualify for her third Olympic Games. Two-time world champion Miki Ando (JPN) and reigning world junior champion Elena Radionova (RUS) headline the field. Ando starts her comeback in Oberstdorf after sitting out the past two seasons, while Radionova will debut at the international senior scene.
Nineteen pairs have entered, and among them are 2012 world pairs bronze medalist Narumi Takahashi (JPN) and her new partner, Ryuichi Kihara (JPN). The top contenders are reigning world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov (RUS).
Out of the 23 ice dance couples, 18 are fighting for a spot at the Olympic Winter Games. 2011 world junior champions Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin (RUS) and 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA) lead the field.
The schedule for Nebelhorn Trophy is as follows:
Thursday, Sept. 26: Ladies and pairs short programs, short dance
Friday, Sept. 27: Men short program, pairs and ladies free skate
Saturday, Sept. 28: Ladies free skate, free dance, exhibition gala