by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(27 Sep. 2020) The pairs competition (6 teams) at the 2020 Nebelhorn Trophy consisted of six teams, and was not of good level at all. Russian and North American skaters were not allowed to cross the German border due to the Covid-19 virus and the best German pair withdrew after the short program.
Rebecca Ghilardi & Filippo Ambrosini, Italy‘s pair number 2 from Bergamo, 19th at the World Championships 2019, won the competition with 154.61 points. In their short program to the music of “Bring me to Life“ by the US rock band Evanescence, their triple twist was not clearly landed in his arms, the double Axel was good, but they had no triple jump. Four more elements were clean, but the triple throw Lutz not a hundred per cent clean. Their style of skating lacks a bit of elegance.
The students of Franca Bianconi opened their free program with a triple twist which again was not clean. Ghilardi fell on the side by side triple Salchow after landing forward. The first and third lift were good, but they had to abort the Axel Lasso Lift after the entry was wobbly. Ambrosini had so many problems with the double Axel that he could not add a second jump in their combination. The triple throw loop was almost clean and the triple throw Lutz good. Their components were around 6.6. Ambrosini said: “This was not our best competition, but we are happy for our first one in the season. Thank you to the German federation for organizing it in a strange time. I have a feeling that all skaters have become more friends with each other because all are in the same situation.“
Annika Hocke & Robert Kunkel from Germany, who were in the ISU Junior Final last season and fourth at Junior Worlds 2020, took the silver medal, winning 154,26 points. Their triple twist was good, the side by side triple Salchow as well, but Hocke stepped out of the triple throw loop. The other four elements were at least good, the step sequence even had a level 4. Kunkel said: “We are extremely happy that we have the possibility to compete again and we have to get used to an empty rink. But we know that thousands of people all over the world were watching the livestream.“
The students of Rico Rex opened their free program with a clean triple twist, followed by a combination of two double toe loops which originally were planned triple. Hocke singled the side by side Salchow and stepped out of the triple throw Lutz. They aborted the second of the three lifts, but the two others were relatively clean. The triple throw loop was good as well as the other elements. Kuinkel said: “We were so well prepared like never before. We have no explanation why we could not show what we succeeded in practice.“
Cleo Hamon & Denys Strekalin from the area of Paris are third with 144.06 points. Last summer, the French pair had trained with John Zimmerman in Florida, but this summer they were not allowed to enter the USA. In their short program, the triple twist was good, but Hamon doubled the toe loop which he tripled. Her triple throw loop was landed on two feet, the four other elements were clean. They opened their long program with a clean triple twist, but then Hamon singled the toe loop and could not add a second jump. Her double Axel was not safe and she fell on the triple throw loop. The other elements were more or less clean. As Paris is a risk area for the Covid-19 virus, both French pairs and their coach Claude Peri had to pass a covid-19 test at Munich airport (free of charge) and were not allowed to leave their hotel and to enter the rink until they received a negative test result online the next morning which they had to show at the accreditation.
Elizaveta Zhuk & Martin Bidar from the Czech Republic are fourth, earning 143.03 points. In their short, their triple twist was O.K., but her triple toe loop not clean and she missed the landing of the throw triple Lutz. In their free program, they made four mistakes and the other elements were soso, but nothing was very good. The second French pair Coline Keriven and Noel-Antoine Pierre ended up fifth with 130.27 points. They opened their short program with a good double twist, but Pierre fell on the side by side triple toe loop. Keriven stepped out of the triple throw loop and their lift was a bit wobbly. In their free program, she doubled the toe loop and their combination was only a double Salchow with a single Axel.
Minerva Hase & Nolan Seegert from Germany, third at the Cup of Russia 2019, had won the short program with 63.97 points. Their twist was very good, as well as the triple toe loop. They performed the triple throw Salchow in an excellent way, the parallel spin as well, but the lift was a bit wobbly. During the morning practice before the free program, Hase landed badly on a throw, strained her ankle ligament and had to withdraw.