11euros-faiscalOn January 24, the European Championships get underway in Bern, Switzerland. The battle for the gold medal will likely be between France’s Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat and Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev. Great Britain’s Sinead Kerr & John Kerr have lost significant training time due to injury, but the siblings should still be a challenge for the podium in Bern.

 

Pechalat & Bourzat had a successful Grand Prix season, winning Trophee Eric Bompard and Cup of China and placing second at the Grand Prix Final to the reigning Olympic silver medalists, Meryl Davis & Charlie White. Bobrova & Soloviev finished just off the podium at the Grand Prix Final in Beijing, but captured their first Grand Prix win at this year’s Cup of Russia in Moscow. Pechalat & Bourzat will skate their short dance to a waltz from the “Dr. Zhivago” soundtrack and have chosen a Charlie Chaplin medley for their free dance. Bobrova & Soloviev’s short dance will be skated to “Delilah,” a waltz by Tom Jones. Their free dance is set to “Melody of the White Nights” by Isaak Schwartz.

 

Also contenders at this year’s European Championships are Italians Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali (pictured, right). They placed third behind Pechalat & Bourzat and Bobrova & Soloviev in their only competition of the Grand Prix season, Cup of China. Due to a back injury suffered by Massimo, Faiella & Scali were forced to withdraw from their second Grand Prix event, Cup of Russia, as well as sit out the Italian Championships. For the short dance, Faiella & Scali have chosen the music of “My Fair Lady” and will skate their free dance to music from the film “The Passion Within.”

 

Sinead Kerr & John Kerr have had a rough season so far due to Sinead’s recurring shoulder injury that included a dislocation. The Kerrs placing second at Skate Canada behind Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier of Canada. They withdrew from Cup of Russia after Sinead re-injured her shoulder and have lost some training time as a result. Their short dance this season is a waltz/quickstep combination – the waltz to “At Last” by Etta James, the quickstep to “Shut Up & Let Me Go” by The Ting Tings. For the free dance, they will skate to Muse’s “Exogenesis Symphony Part Three (Redemption).”

 

 

 

Other teams to watch out for include Hungary’s Nora Hoffmann & Maxim Zavozin and Russians Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko and Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov. Hoffmann & Zavozin had their best showing of their career together this season at Cup of Russia, where they placed second. They finished just off the podium at Cup of China, but qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time, where they placed sixth. Their short dance is skated to quintessential waltz music, “Skater’s Waltz” by Strauss and “Sleeping Beauty” by Tchaikovsky. Their free dance is set to music from the “Gypsy Witch” soundtrack by Experidance.

 

Russia’s Riazanova & Tkachenko placed a strong second at Trophee Eric Bompard before placing second at the latest Russian Nationals. Also among the challengers in Bern is the third Russian team, Ilinykh & Katsalapov. They had a successful showing on the Grand Prix circuit this year, placing third and fourth at Cup of Russia and NHK Trophy, respectively, in their senior debut.

 

Italy’s Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, who placed sixth last year, will not be competing at this year’s event.