Tschüss Oberstdorf – See You Soon

And so another Nebelhorn Trophy comes to an end. The cow bells and drums are silenced and the skaters move on to their next events with the hope of improving their performances in Oberstdorf.

The early morning rain abated before the ladies competition began. Mariah Bell showed her mettle and consolidated her overnight lead for a comfortable victory. She became the first American since Mirai Nagasu in 2011 to win a Nebelhorn Trophy title. Yelim Kim was the runner-up and, with a win by Haein Lee at this weekend’s Junior Grand Prix in Croatia, is further proof there is a long line of talent developing in Korean skating. Nicole Schott in third place became the first German female singles skater to climb the Nebelhorn Trophy podium since Eva-Maria Fitze in 1996.

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Part of the fun of events like these is running into former skaters who are now coaches. It might be bumping into Stephane Lambiel in the arena restaurant or seeing John Zimmerman window shopping in downtown Oberstdorf. This week for some reason we kept crossing paths with Anna Levandi (née Kondrashova), who previously competed for the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Seeing her so many times reminded us of her free skating programme from the 1988 Olympic Games and, since we cannot get the mid-routine dance break out of our heads, here is the routine in all its glory. Please do not be too harsh about the moves and music. This was cutting edge choreography for the time!

Which brings us neatly to the ice dance event which drew the curtain on this year’s competition. Skating last in the penultimate group, Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson received rapturous applause for their Madonna-themed free dance. This is going to get even stronger over the course of the season and is set to be another winner for them. Strike a pose!

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In their first appearance at the Nebelhorn Trophy as a team, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen picked up the gold. Sorensen’s back had been troubling him in the run up to the competition and they were clearly relieved to get through it in one piece. They were very excited about the opportunity to skate at home in Montreal next March and were thoughtful enough to remind everyone to bring their coats. We still have to remind ourselves from time to time we will not be seeing them at Europeans in January. #SadFace

For now we bid an auf Wiedersehen to Oberstdorf and wish for all the skaters we met here (and even the ones we did not) a safe and healthy season ahead.

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