This week, I felt the first cold chill of the morning, which means it’s officially sweater weather. As someone who loves all things Autumn (except pumpkin spice), I’m ready to enjoy a return to my favorite time of year.
Fresh off last week’s break, the Junior Grand Prix series heads into the second half where the rosters continue to grow. This is the opposite of the ISU Challenger Series, whose entry lists have been much shorter than in previous seasons. With retirements, ended partnerships and a number of teams taking the Fall events off, the largest field was last week’s Ondrej Nepela Trophy (10 entries). This week’s Nebelhorn Trophy roster lists nine teams.
In case you missed it, hosts Jackie Wong and Nick McCarvel are back with the Ice Talk podcast (formerly part of IceNetwork), which has been relaunched and is now available on iTunes. The first episode of season 3 features a check-in with Madison Hubbell & Zach Donohue as well as tributes to Denis Ten from his fellow skaters.
Have a great week!
~ Daphne & Team IDC
A LOOK BACK AT ONDREJ NEPELA TROPHY
by Anne Calder
Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov got their season off to a strong start by winning the gold medal in their international debut at Ondrej Nepela Trophy. Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter of the United States took silver and Betina Popova & Sergey Mozgov claimed bronze.
Sinitsina & Katsalapov took a five-point lead in the rhythm dance with their passionate performance to “Verano Porteno” by Astor Piazzolla. Though the Russians did not max out on their element levels, they did receive +4 GOEs from several judges on their twizzles and midline steps, although their steps were graded level 2.
Though McNamara & Carpenter had the highest base value on their elements, they lost minimal ground on GOEs and their PCS marks were five points back from the leaders.
Popova & Mozgov used “Tango in a Madhouse” to place third, less than three points behind the Americans. Their level 4 twizzles received mostly +3 GOE scores. Unfortunately, they received a 1.0 deduction for their closing extended rotational lift.
Sinitsina & Katsalapov widened the gap over the Americans with a classical Russian interpretation of Bach’s Air; Praeludim and Allegro in the Style of Pugnani, by Kreisler (Orchestral Suite No 3 in D Major by Bach). The judges rewarded the performance with mostly +3, +4, and a few +5 GOE’s, which increased their TES 22 points over the base values. The segment earned 120.46, the second highest free dance score of the 2018 Challenger Series; the total scored 196.47.
McNamara & Carpenter danced to “Port Goret” by Yann Tiersen. The elements floated seamlessly across the ice guided only by the hypnotic beat of a piano. The genre was a change for the young Americans, who performed it beautifully. The highlight was the one-foot step sequence that earned level 4 for both partners. They are the only team to have achieved this score in the five Challenger Series Events. They also earned the distinction at the Lake Placid International Ice Dance back in late July. The segment scored 108.27; the total was 178.64.
Betina Popova & Sergey Mozgov danced to the Master and Margarita soundtrack choreographed by their new coach, Anjelika Krylova. The second-year team attacked the satirical dark comedy theme with gusto and enthusiasm. The program opened with fast-moving level 4 twizzles that earned over eight points. The GOEs ranged from -2 to +4. The segment earned 102.82; the total was 170.47.
Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson of Great Britain performed a sassy, fast-paced dance bookended by the “Queen of Disco” Donna Summers’ “Bad Girls” and “On the Radio” plus Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September”. The program earned fourth place with 99.51 points.
NEW ON IDC
EVENTS THIS WEEK
COMING ATTRACTIONS: JUNIOR GRAND PRIX CZECH SKATE
Ostrava is host to this week’s Junior Grand Prix event and boasts one of the largest rosters (18 teams from 15 countries).
Czech Skate dates back to 1964 and was previously known as Prague Skate and later Golden Skate. From 1964-1997, it was a senior international event, but in select years since 1999 it has been a junior competition as part of the ISU Junior Grand Prix series. Of the 11 occasions that Czech Skate has been a JGP, Ostrava has hosted the event in all but one opportunity (Liberec, 2006). Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter of the United States won the title in 2016 when the event was last held.
The medal hunt: Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Nikita Nazarov already have a gold medal from JGP Bratislava and a medal of any color would qualify them for the JGP Final. Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya of Georgia are competing on the JGP series for the first time, but finished an impressive ninth at last year’s World Junior Championships. Sophia Elder & Christopher Elder could improve upon their sixth place finish at Cup of Austria and land on the podium.
A bunch of teams competing in Ostrava are debuting on the JGP series for the first time, including Katarina Woflkostin & Howard Zhao of the United States, Emmy Bronsard & Aissa Bouaraguia and Olivia McIsaac & Corey Circelli of Canada, Oliwia Borowska & Filip Bojandowski of Poland and Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin of Russia.
The event kicks off with the rhythm dance at 11:30 AM (local time) on Thursday, followed by the free dance on Friday at 2:40 PM (local time). There is a six-hour time difference between Ostrava and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which translates to 5:30 AM for the rhythm dance on Thursday and 8:40 AM for Friday’s free dance.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: NEBELHORN TROPHY
This week’s Nebelhorn Trophy in Obertsdorf, Germany is the sixth of 11 events of the 2018-19 ISU Challenger Series. The event, held annually since 1969, is named for a mountain in the nearby Allgäu Alps and has been part of the series since it was created by the ISU in 2014. Last year, Nebelhorn Trophy served as the final Olympic qualifying event with each of the top six teams qualifying a spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics, including Great Britain’s Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland who won gold. The 2018 roster features nine teams, which is half the number that competed last year.
The medal hunt: Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier of Canada will debut internationally for the season in Obertsdorf and are favorites for gold. The team finished sixth at the World Championships and was third at this event in 2016.
Nebelhorn Trophy marks the first time 2017 World Junior Champions Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons will compete against fellow Americans Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko at the senior level. Parsons & Parsons have been competing internationally since the end of July and already have two silver medals from Challenger Series events, while Carreira & Ponomarenko debuted internationally as a senior team two weeks ago at the U.S. Classic where they finished second.
With 2018 Olympian Joti Polizoakis without a partner and sitting out for this season, Nebelhorn Trophy also features a showdown between three of the remaining German ice dance teams – Shari Koch & Christian Nuchtern, Katharina Muller & Tim Dieck and Jennifer Urban & Benjamin Steffan.
The rhythm dance is scheduled to take place on Thursday at 5:30 PM (local time), with the free dance on Friday at 7:30 PM (local time). With the six-hour time difference between Germany and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), it converts to 11:30 AM on Thursday for the rhythm dance and 1:30 PM on Friday for the free dance. The Fritz-Geiger-Memorial Trophy will be presented to the team (by country) with the highest placements across each of the disciplines.