Competitions, Events & Competitions

Nebelhorn Trophy, Road to Olympics: Who’ll Make It? – Part 1

First off, let’s get this out of the way: what is the Nebelhorn Trophy and why is everyone so gung-ho about it?

The Nebelhorn Trophy is an annual figure skating competition held in Oberstdorf, Germany. It became part of the ISU Challenger Series since 2014 and has been the venue for the final Olympic qualifiers since 2009. Singles skaters have the chance to earn one of six spots, though the competition for the Men’s discipline is tight. Among over twenty hopefuls, four of them have a very real chance at grabbing one spot for their country with four other wild cards in the mix. Who, exactly, are these eight skaters?


BETS

Alexander Majorov, Sweden

Personal Best Total:        228.91
Personal Best SP:             83.81
Personal Best FS:             150.07

Alexander came in 23rd at the 2017 World Championships and has one quad, the toe loop. He didn’t skate clean in the 2017 Lombardia Trophy and missed precious points when he failed to perform a combination jumping pass, but if he manages to perform all of his elements without major deductions in Nebelhorn then he has a good chance of earning a spot for his country.

Ivan Righini, Italy

Personal Best Total:        236.36
Personal Best SP:             82.23
Personal Best FS:             154.13

Ivan Righini withdrew from 2017 Worlds due to an old leg injury, choosing instead to take time off after the 2017 European Championships to recuperate. Things don’t look good for him this early in the season, with him falling multiple times during the 2017 Lombardia Trophy and finishing in 11th place. If he manages to pull himself together and his injury won’t act up, his tano and rippon jumps – along with his quad toe loop – will help him rack up points to earn that coveted Olympic spot.
UPDATE (9/28/2017, 12:56PM): Ivan Righini has withdrawn and will be replaced by Matteo Rizzo, who has also performed well in the previous season and in the 2017 Lombardia Trophy. Matteo can still clinch that spot for Italy in the Olympics.

Jorik Hendrickx, Belgium

Personal Best Total:        242.56
Personal Best SP:             82.50
Personal Best FS:             160.06

Jorik finished 21st at 2017 Worlds and missed out on an Olympic spot by 1 place, 3.89 points behind Paul Fentz of Germany.  One fall during his SP and two falls during his FS greatly hurt his chances; he would have easily earned a spot otherwise. If he skates clean in Nebelhorn – or at least doesn’t fall or have any invalid elements – he will definitely qualify.

Julian Yee, Malaysia

Personal Best Total:        213.99
Personal Best SP:             72.59
Personal Best FS:             144.25

Julian came in 22nd at 2017 Worlds and has been pretty consistent in the 2016-17 season. He recently won gold at the 2017 SEA Games – the first time winter sports were included in the roster. Bringing out his quad salchow this season will greatly help his chances of being the first Malaysian to qualify for figure skating in the Olympics.

 

WILD CARDS

June Hyoung Lee, Korea

Personal Best Total:        203.92
Personal Best SP:             71.92
Personal Best FS:             135.93

June Hyoung Lee did not participate in 2017 Worlds, though he came in 18th at the 2017 Four Continents Championships. Though he doesn’t have a quad, he has decent skating skills and knows how to maximize his levels on spins and sequences. He’s a bit of a wild card given his inconsistency.

South Korea, fortunately, has host privileges. In the event that June Hyoung is unable to qualify, a representative from South Korea will enter as the 31st skater.

Michael Christian Martinez, Philippines

Personal Best Total:        220.36
Personal Best SP:             74.45
Personal Best FS:             148.12

Southeast Asia’s first Olympic representative for figure skating will once again attempt to qualify for the Olympics. After finishing 24th at 2017 Worlds and winning a silver medal at the 2017 SEA Games, Michael said that he is confident about his chances to qualify. He hasn’t come close to his personal best scores in the 2016-17 season, but he debuted his quad toe loop in the SEA Games and that will definitely help raise his score. If he keeps his head in the game and lands all his jumps, he could very well get in.

Stephane Walker, Sweden

Personal Best Total:        209.04
Personal Best SP:             70.58
Personal Best FS:             138.55

Stephane is another wild card given his inconsistency this past season. He did not qualify for the free skate in 2017 Worlds, though he also placed bronze in the CS Warsaw Cup that same season and his personal best is at par with the other people on this list. If everything goes as planned, he might be able to take that last spot.

Yaroslav Paniot, Ukraine

Personal Best Total:        208.57
Personal Best SP:             72.03
Personal Best FS:             136.54

Yaroslav is an incoming senior skater representing Ukraine. He finished 10th at the 2017 World Junior Championships and earned his personal best scores there. If he won’t succumb to pressure, he just might get a spot for his country in the 2018 Olympics.


Notable skater Patrick Chan from Canada will also compete at Nebelhorn, though he is ineligible to earn more spots for his country as he already earned two from the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships. The same goes for US competitor Alexander Johnson.

Do you have your own bets for the final six slots? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, check out Part 2 for the Ladies as well!

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