Another highly anticipated Challenger Series event, Nebelhorn Trophy took place this weekend in Oberstdorf, Germany. It is the sixth Challenger event in the series so far, and the competition celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Many fan favourites had their first international assignment of the season at this event, and took the competition as a chance to test out their new programs for the season ahead. The event was live-streamed on Dailymotion, however it is no longer available. We have compiled a YouTube playlist of select available performances. Protocols and score breakdowns can be found here.
🥇 Alina Zagitova claimed victory at this competition after two technically strong performances. The reigning Olympic Champion skated her Short Program to “The Phantom of the Opera” soundtrack, and her Free Skate to “Carmen”, both choreographed by Daniil Gleikhengauz. She was awarded a world record in both segments under the new scoring system. This is the second time she’s shown these two programs, the first being at the Russian Test Skates in mid-September, and both programs are looking significantly stronger both technically and artistically. We will see her next at Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Helsinki at the very start of November.
🥈 Mai Mihara captured the silver medal after two strong skates. She skated her Short Program to “It's Magic” by Doris Day. While rather homogenous in style and expression, Mai portrayed the softness of the program beautifully in her skating. In the Free Skate she gave a lovely performance set to “Gabriel's Oboe,” a repetition of last season’s program. She doubled what was supposed to be a triple Salchow, however she did not get any Lutz edge calls which is an improvement from previous seasons. Her first Grand Prix assignment is NHK Trophy in her home country of Japan.
🥉 Loena Hendrickx stole the heart of the crowd with two fantastic performances at this event. She skated a compelling Short Program to “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” by Celine Dion. In the Free Skate she gave an energetic performance to “Diferente” by the Gotan Project, which she recycled from last season. She beat her personal best of 192.31 by nearly 12 points. At the tender age of 18, Loena has already represented Belgium at the Olympic Games, and has gained substantial experience in doing so. She has two Grand Prix assignments - starting with Skate America in a just couple of weeks - and we cannot wait to see how she blossoms throughout the rest of the season.
We would like to give a shout-out to the lovely Marin Honda, who skated a technically rough Short Program but rose to claim 4th position in the Free Skate. From a performance standpoint alone, she skated lights out to her SP set to "Seven Nation Army,” choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne. This is a very new style for Marin to be exploring, and she has adapted quite well to it, especially considering it is the first ever showing of this program in competition. Marin, having a lot of talent and potential, is definitely one to look out for at Skate America, her first Grand Prix of the season. Well done and best of luck to all these talented ladies this season!
🥇Alisa Efimova / Alexander Korovin stormed back to win gold after a fourth place finish in the Short Program, and an unfortunate step sequence fall. Their clean and well executed Free Skate helped them make up the deficit, and set them apart from the rest of the field. A highlight was an exit to a lift during their Short Program, skated to a cover of “Human” by Imagine Dragons. Alisa continued to ride the flow of her edge around him as he did choreographic flair moves. Their one and only Grand Prix stop comes up at Rostelecom Cup in November.
🥈In a season of new beginnings Alexa Scimeca Knierim / Chris Knierim showed off an updated style with the choreographed programs of their career and their new coaching partnership with Olympic Champion Aljona Savchenko. Unfortunately old bad habits reared back in the free with all of their side by side jumps missed, and a synchronised fall, but progress forward hardly happens in a couple months. Next up for them on the way forward is Skate America at the end of October.
🥉Nebelhorn Trophy was another opportunity for Deanna Stellato / Nathan Bartholomay, and they grabbed it, winning the bronze medal. They showed continued improvements on their pair elements, the twist especially, and showed off a season trend by skating to some ‘90’s soft pop with their “The Bodyguard” Free Skate. Next for them is the Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Helsinki.
🥇 Keegan Messing claimed victory at this competition by skating two clean programs. His Short Program was to “You've Got a Friend in Me” performed by Michael Bublé, and his Free Skate was to “The Sober Dawn” (from City Lights) by Charlie Chaplin, with choreography by Lance Vipond. Both performances were energetic and he tried his best to make them entertaining. Keegan is definitely one of the strongest Canadian men this season, hoping to occupy the top spot vacated by Patrick Chan following his retirement at the end of last season. His next showing will be at Skate Canada later this month.
🥈 Alexander Majorov, the reigning bronze medalist for this event, managed to take home a silver after two energetic, yet slightly error filled, performances. He skated quite enthusiastically to his Short Program, “Bang Bang” by Asaf Avidan, a repeat of his Short Program from last season. We got to see his fun, comedic side come through when he skated his Free Skate to a medley of “Tina” by Randy Edelman, “Saint James Infirmary” by Hugh Laurie, “Cuban Pete” by Jim Carrey. He had a step out on the quad Toe in the short, and fell on the 3rd jump in a combo in the free; however, the rest of his performance was solid, and full of fun! We will also get to see him at Skate Canada later this month.
🥉 Artur Dimitriev captured the bronze medal after two dramatic skates. His Short Program was to “Gladiator” (soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer, and his Free Skate was a medley of “Crusaders of the Light,” “La Coronacion,” and “Manuela” - all by Globus. The most notable occurrence in his Short Program was the fact that he did a 3Lz3F combination, very rarely performed in competition - and what’s more is that he landed the first jump on the left foot instead of doing an Euler jump in between! This has not been done before in competition even though it is acceptable under the guidelines. Artur has only one Grand Prix assignment - Rostelecom Cup - so we will see him again in mid-November.
🥇In route to winning their first international gold medal, Piper Gilles / Paul Poirier showed off stunning control and why they were truly the class of the field. With perfect posture through their Tango Romantica patterns in the Rhythm Dance and lovely speed and personality in their One Foot Step Sequence in the Free Dance they displayed the potential to become Canada’s number one Ice Dance team this season. Their next opportunity comes at Skate Canada, the second event on the Grand Prix.
🥈Winning their third Challenger Series silver medal this season, Rachel Parsons / Michael Parsons brought their best, and the judges agreed, giving their best scores of the season. Their well connected free dance continues to “To Build a Home” continues to grow emotionally, while also perfectly choreographed to highlight their speed. The first Grand Prix stop for them comes at NHK Trophy.
🥉With the bronze, and their second senior medal of the season, came Christina Carreira / Anthony Ponomarneko. They took the chance to show off their incredible Free Dance to a mix of “Clair de Lune” and “Bloodstream/Angel” by Tokio Myers and ran with it. Their stunning curve lift was a standout at the event and set them a part from the rest of the field. For them, the next stop is the Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Helsinki.