Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel at practice in Oberstdorf
Skaters show top performances at 55th Nebelhorn Trophy
The new German pair of Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nikita Volodin, European Champion Adam Siao Him Fa from France, Isabeau Levito (USA) and Great Britain's European silver medalists Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson skated off with gold at the ISU Challenger Series event Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf (September 21-23).
Siao Him Fa won the Men's event with a new personal best score and hit the quad Lutz in both programs. In the Short, Adam skates to "The Prophete" by Gary Moore and explained the story behind his program: "I am dancing with the spirits and I am carried away by the music." For the Free Skating, the Frenchman and his choreographer Benoît Richaud came up with another interesting storyline. "The program is calley 'My Diary', " Adam said and went on to explain that his program is about the difficulty of finding yourself. Japan's Kazuki Tomono showed much improvement over last year when he also came to Oberstdorf for his season opener to finish second. He chose two slower pieces of music to show a different style this time and it worked well for him. Teammate Koshiro Shimada turned in two solid performances to last year's "Sing Sing Sing" Short Program and the new Free to "Danse Macabre".
Lucas Broussard (USA) competed in his first major international senior-level event. His planned quad toe did not work, but he impressed with his skating style and expression. Kai Jagoda of Germany landed his triple Axels, but doubled a couple of jumps or stepped out of the landing to come seventh. He said that he earned valuable experience.
Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nikita Volodin celebrated victory in the Pairs event in what was only their second competition as a team. The couple from Berlin ranked third in the SP as Hase popped the Salchow, but rallied back with a strong Free to overtake Lucrezia Beccari/Matteo Guarise and Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel.
Isabeau Levito (USA) had a strong start into the season with victory in the Women's events. She proudly presented her new programs, the oriental-themed Short Program where she portrays a snake and the Free Skating to "The White Crow". Kimmy Repond missed her triple Lutz in the Short but rallied in the Free to win the segment and move up from third to second place. The 2023 European bronze medalist explained that she suffered a back injury in the summer when colliding with another skater but now she looks like she is back on track. Minchae Kim of Korea placed third. Repond spearheaded the Swiss team with Livia Kaiser coming fourth and Alexia Paganini fifth.
Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson were the top favorites in the Ice Dance and did not disappoint. They entertained the crowd with their "Sweet Dreams" RD and the "Rocky" Free Dance. However, some observers felt that this might be too much show and not enough actual skating and dancing. Allison Reed/Saulius Ambruvelicius of Lithuania turned in two nice performances as well to win the silver medal ahead of Finland's Juulia Turkkila/Matthias Versluis . The Finns had to wait for their luggage that was delayed due to a strike at the airport in Helsinki. They received their suitcases just the evening before the competition. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko were fourth followed by the Czech World Junior Champions Katerina Mrazkova/Daniel Mrazek.
Full results at www.eislauf-union.de