by Alexandra Stevenson
|12||Paul Bonifacio PARKINSON||ITA||58.93||12|
|1||Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV||RUS||196.55||1||1|
|2||Caydee DENNEY / John COUGHLIN||USA||178.90||2||2|
|3||Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES||FRA||151.52||3||4|
|4||Gretchen DONLAN / Andrew SPEROFF||USA||145.35||6||3|
|5||Daria POPOVA / Bruno MASSOT||FRA||132.68||5||5|
|6||Danielle MONTALBANO / Evgeni KRASNOPOLSKI||ISR||110.31||8||6|
|7||Ronja ROLL / Gustav FORSGREN||SWE||94.48||9||7|
|WD||Vera BAZAROVA / Yuri LARIONOV||RUS|
|WD||Mari VARTMANN / Aaron VAN CLEAVE||GER|
|1||Nelli ZHIGANSHINA / Alexander GAZSI||GER||59.58||1|
|2||Madison CHOCK / Evan BATES||USA||56.97||2|
|3||Julia ZLOBINA / Alexei SITNIKOV||AZE||56.95||3|
|4||Ksenia MONKO / Kirill KHALIAVIN||RUS||54.92||4|
|5||Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM||CAN||54.50||5|
|6||Siobhan HEEKIN-CANEDY / Dmitri DUN||UKR||54.44||6|
|7||Kharis RALPH / Asher HILL||CAN||53.79||7|
|8||Lucie MYSLIVECKOVA / Neil BROWN||CZE||47.73||8|
|9||Ramona ELSENER / Florian ROOST||SUI||46.62||9|
|10||Charlotte AIKEN / Josh WHIDBORNE||GBR||46.12||10|
|11||Sara HURTADO / Adria DIAZ||ESP||45.68||11|
|12||Federica BERNARDI / Christopher MIOR||ITA||43.90||12|
|13||Allison REED / Vasili ROGOV||ISR||42.54||13|
|14||Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION||JPN||41.82||14|
|15||Zsuzsanna NAGY / Mate FEJES||HUN||41.73||15|
Thursday, the first day’s competition for the 44th running of the Nebelhorn Trophy, witnessed an interesting Short Dance competition which saw the German champions Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi, who have the home ice advantage, establish a lead of 2.61 points over Americans Madison Chock & Evan Bates, who lie second, only marginally (0.02) ahead of the Russian born couple who represent Azerbaijan, Julia Zlobina & Alexei Sitnikov.
Earning the score now required by the ISU to enter the World Championships (which, for the Short Dance is 29) was accomplished by only the leaders, the third place team and Siobhan-Canada & Dmitri Dun, who lie sixth going into the free because of lower components. Although Chock & Bates missed the score here in Germany by 0.21, they had previous earned this standard in the U.S. Figure Skating Classic two weeks ago in Salt Lake City.
Later in the day, the twice runners-up for the world pairs title, the Ukrainian-Russian partnership of Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov took the lead in the short program, but while doing so just didn’t seem to be really feeling their music, a mournful Blues, created for the Godfather movie, to express the main character’s son’s grief over the murder of his 16-year-old fiancée. There was a very interesting moment when Trankov mimed shooting the judges, and he does have an intriguing new hair-do with an abundant fringe over his forehead. But, with the lower half of his skull almost shaved, it looks as if a lawn-mower ran over him.
The team was obviously not pleased with their showing. Volovsozhar left the Kiss ’n Cry area early, deserting her partner, who was not smiling although the marks would prove to be 7.95 points ahead of their closest rivals, U.S. Champions, Caydee Denney & John Coughlin.
There was never any real challenge from the other eight pairs. The small field of nine teams represented six countries. Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres, who represent France, placed third in the short, while the second Russian entry skated very tentatively with Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov still suffering from her last season’s hip injury. She has lost a lot of training time and is only just getting back in shape. The second U.S. pair team here, Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff, made errors and lie sixth.
As for the required technical score to meet the minimum requirements for Worlds, this was accomplished by only the top three pairs.
In the last event of the day, the 24 men representing 18 countries presented an interesting array of routines but only the top five earned the standard of 35 points for their technical score in the Short Program, which is being currently demanded by the International Skating Union for a country to enter that contestant in the World Championship. They were Nobunari Oda, Japan, who is on the comeback trail; Konstantin Menshov, Russia; and Keegan Messing, USA, who lie first, second and third going into the long program. The fourth and fifth placed skaters, Denis Ten, Kazakhstan, and Michal Brezina, Czech Republic, did not achieve the minimum technical standard, and are in their overall position because of their high component scores. Peter Liebers of Germany, and Andrei Rogozine, Canada, who lie sixth and seventh, earned the required technical score but are lying behind Ten & Brezina because their component scores held them back.
1. 79.64 (42.86+37.78 -1) Nobunari Oda, who was competing for the first time since November because of a serious left knee injury, said he was extremely nervous in Oberstdorf, but delighted at his huge lead of over ten points, despite falling on his first element, a quad toe, for which he was given full credit. His second element a triple Axel was superb, earning +2 Grade of Execution from all but one judge, who punched in +1. His flying sit, change foot camel and his combination spins were all the maximum Level 4 with positive Grades of Execution. He also brought off a triple flip to triple toe and Level 3 straight line steps. His components included six 8.25s down to one 6.0.
The 25-year-old, whose best place in Worlds was 4th in 2006, lists a whole string of coaches in Barrie, Ontario, Lee Barkell, Paige Aistrop and David Islam and his choreographer Lori Nichol, as well as his father in Osaka. He performed to the music, The New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms, which is a saying about light phenomena. Oda is married and the proud father of a son, Shintaro, born on October 1, 2010. He traces his ancestry to a famous war lord who lived 1534-1582.
2. 69.30 (35.91+33.39) Konstantin Menshov, Russia, a 29-year-old from St. Petersburg, who has competed in Russian nationals since 2003, when he was ninth. He won the title in 2011 but was not sent to Worlds, after finishing 7th in Europeans, where he was beaten by a teammate. In the past season’s Russian nationals, he was only seventh. He opened with a +1.29 triple Axel followed by a quad toe to double toe jump combination which gained a total of 11.89. He would have been closer to Oda, had he not doubled his planned triple Lutz, losing all but 1.2 points on this element. His combination sit spin was a Level 4 with +0.21 GoE. For the other three moves which earn levels, he received Level 3. This is his fifth time competing in this event. In 2003, he was 13th, in 2008 11th, in 2010 2nd and in 2011 7th. He skated to Lilies of the Valley from the recent movie soundtrack to Pina.
3. 68.56 (37.42+32.14 -1) Keegan Messing, US, skated last of the 24 competitors from 19 countries. He said, “The opening triple Axel felt good, almost like a God feeling inside. I tried to carry on like that but then I was shaken by falling on the triple Lutz to triple toe.” Two of his spins were Level 4. The flying camel and his steps were Level 3. But he got an “e” for his triple flip. Messing, who placed seventh in his third entry to the US (senior) championship this past season, is trained in Anchorage, Alaska by Ralph Burghardt. When asked how he came to choose his current music, he said he was sitting around thinking of music and ended up typing Sing Sing Sing into his computer Google Search and it brought up that music sung by Louis Prima. “Once, I heard that, I knew I had to use it.” It definitely suited the flamboyant, outgoing, 20-year-old.”
4. 67.88 (33.59+35.29 -1) Denis Ten, Kazarkstan, just piped Michael Brezina by a tenth of a point. The now 19-year-old has trained in the United States since 2009. Skating to music from the movie, The Artist, dressed very elaborately in a sophisticated suit, he fell on his initial move, a quad toe, which received an arrow for slight under-rotation. His triple Axel had a flawed landing and his combination, late in the program, was triple flip to double toe but two of his spins were Level 4 and the other, along with the footwork were awarded Level 3. He trains mainly in Lake Arrowhead with Frank Carroll and Rafael Arutunian. His choreography is created by Lori Nichol and Stephan Lambiel. He has competed in the last four world championships, placing 8th, 13th 14th and 7th. He became the first skater from Kazakhstan to medal at an ISU event when he claimed gold in a Junior Grand Prix. His family is part of the Korean minority in Kazakhstan.
5. 67.78 (32.84+35.94 -1) Michal Brezina, Czech Republic, 22, who was fourth in the 2010 & 2011 world championships but sixth earlier this year, is now trained by former Olympic champion (1992) Victor Petrenko alongside Johnny Weir in Hackensack, NJ. Skating to the Epican version of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, he fell on his first element a quad Salchow and then singled his intended triple Axel. But he kept fighting and three of his four elements which receive Levels got the maximum Level 4. He closed with his steps which were +0.43 Level 3. Brezina also took advantage of getting the extra 10% bonus for his triple flip to triple toe which is now also given to jumps done in the second half of the Short Program. So, even though he had to struggle with the combination and lost -1.30 from its base value plus 10%, he still banked 9.04.bsp;
6. 67.41 (36.57+30.84) Peter Liebers, Germany, edged out Andrei Rogozine for sixth by just a tenth of a point. The 24-year-old from Berlin comes from a skating family. He followed his 3-years-older brother, Martin, to the rink. His father, Mario, represented East Germany in the world championships 1976-1980. He is coached by Viola Striegler and has represented his country in Worlds for the past five years. In 2011 he finished 15th and, fighting an injury, finished 20th earlier this year.
In Oberstdorf, he was saddled with an “e” for the first jump of his combination, triple flip to triple toe but the following triple Axel earned +0.57 over its base value. He executed his triple Lutz after the halfway point earning the 10% bonus. His change foot sit spin was Level 4, and the other three elements which are given a Level gained 3.
7. 67.31 (37.73+29.58) Andrei Rogozine, Canada, was born in Moscow but emigrated to Canada when he was a child. He became the first Canadian boy to win the World Junior title since Dennis Coi claimed the original title in 1978. Now 19, he interpreted Broken Sorrow performed by Nuttin’ but Stringz and Fanfare by Black Violin. He is trained by Inga Zusev & Andrei Berezintsev in Richmond Hill, Ontario. His choreography was created by Shae-Lynn Bourne. Rogozine began with +0.50 triple flip to triple toe followed by a +0.71 triple Axel. However, his triple Lutz, set after the halfway mark, was penalized for a wrong edge take off. Two of his spins were Level 4. The flying camel was Level 3 and the steps Level 2.
8. 65.68 (33.10+33.58 -1) Stephen Carriere, US, was third in this event last year. The now 23-year-old showed great promise when he won the World Junior title in 2007 and finished 10th at the world seniors in 2010 after taking bronze in the US Senior championships. But he has not made the world championship team since then. He fell on his opening move, a triple Axel, and messed up the following triple loop. But all four spins were Level 4, and the triple Lutz to double toe earned its base value plus the extra 10% for being past the halfway stage. He performed to Passionata. He is trained by Suna Murray and his choreography is created by Scott Brown.
9. 61.55 (31.63+29.92) Alexander Majorov, Sweden, opened with a Lutz to triple toe earning a slight 0.30 over the base value. His triple Axel received full base value, but he doubled his flip which was slammed with a wrong edge takeoff. Two of his spins received the top Level 4 but his flying camel only made the base Level 1. He performed to Ray’s Blues by Dave Grusin. The 21-year-old is trained by his father in Lulea, Sweden, and his choreography is created by Catarina Lindgren and Irina Majorova.
10. 60.69 (26.36+35.33 -1) Tomas Verner, Czech Republic, 26, is a very popular competitor. He has now competed in this event seven times. In his initial appearance, in 2001, he finished 15th. He won gold in 2006, and bronze in two other years. But this time he had a poor outing messing up his first two elements. The first was meant as a combo but he only managed a triple toe and he fell on his triple Axel. His triple Lutz got 0.30 removed from its base value and he received no Level 4. He is coached by Robert Emerson in Toronto and skated to Dracula. In both 2007 and 2009 he finished fourth in the world championships but earlier this year he was only 16th.