Here’s a short recap of what happened in the past week in the world of figure skating.
Nebelhorn Entries Announced
While the first senior competition took place last weekend, the Nebelhorn Trophy at the end of September heralds the beginning of the skating season in earnest. As the final Olympic qualifier last year, it received a huge amount of attention and this time round things will no doubt be a little quieter.
The initial entry list looks very promising with strength and depth in all four categories. The men’s event will be headlined by Olympic bronze medallist Denis Ten, former and current European medallists Michal Brezina, Konstantin Menshov and Sergei Voronov, and U.S. sensation Jason Brown who will be back in Oberstdorf after skating so well there last year.
There was a huge Japanese media contingent in 2013 due to the presence of Miki Ando in her first international competition after giving birth. Kanako Murakami will probably not draw the same level of interest, but she will be keen to establish herself as Japanese number one with the retirement of Akiko Suzuki and Mao Asada’s sabbatical. She will be joined by among others fourth place Worlds finisher Anna Pogorilaya and U.S. champion Gracie Gold.
Nebelhorn Trophy will be the comeback event for Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov after a very frustrating season that was cut short when Smirnov ruptured ligaments in his right knee in October and had to have surgery. The pair missed out on competing at home at the Sochi Olympics and the rise of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov as the second ranked team in Russia means that the 2010 European champions will need to make a good impression in Germany if they are to make the Russian squad for Europeans and Worlds. The Russians will be challenged by Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres who are now based in Moscow for training with Nina Mozer’s group under Stanislav Morozov.
Three strong teams are scheduled to show for the ice dance event. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje narrowly missed out on becoming World champions in Japan in March and probably start as favourites to take what would be their first Nebelhorn title. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev will compete in Oberstdorf for the first time since they claimed the World Junior crown in 2007. The Bavarian town has also been a happy hunting ground for Madison Chock and Evan Bates who won gold in 2012.
Ice Ice Bucket Too Cold
Anybody who has been on social media this past week can’t have failed to notice skaters from Akiko Suzuki to Kristi Yamaguchi taking part in something called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge where participants get splashed with containers of freezing water. But what is ALS?
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is more commonly referred to as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a fundraising and awareness drive for ALS related charities where those who have taken part nominate others to do the same or else make a donation.
Kurt Browning wins the award for most original way to take the challenge, but don’t try this at home kids!
Woe For Wende/Wende
Maylin Wende and Daniel Wende have been forced to withdraw from their Grand Prix assignments at Skate America and Rostelecom Cup. German media reports that Daniel has injured two discs in his lower spine.
The Japanese Skating Federation also named Daisuke Murakami, Riona Kato and Emi Hirai and Marien de la Asuncion as host picks for the NHK Trophy.