by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(28 Sep 2020) Twenty-two ladies from 13 European countries competed at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 in Oberstdorf, Germany. The general level was mixed.
Surprise winner with 173.53 points was 17-year-old Eva-Lotta Kiibus from Estonia who had been seventh at the European Championships 2020 and is a student of Anna Levandi, the former Anna Kondrashova who competed for the Soviet Union in the 1980ies. Kiibus was third in the short program after performing a very good combination of two triple toe loops, a step-out on the triple flip and five other good elements. Her music choice was “Sign of the Times“ by Harry Style and her components had an average of 6.9.
Skating to Rakhmaninov‘s Second Piano Concerto in the free program, she opened with a combination of double Axel and triple toe loop, but stepped out of the second jump. In her sequence of triple flip, Euler and triple Salchow, she stepped out of the Salchow, like on the triple Lutz and the second triple flip. The second half of her program was better: She performed a good combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, a clean triple loop, a good double Axel and a very good step sequence. But she missed the entry into the second spin. Her components were around 6.8 and her new choreographer is Benoit Richaud. She commented: “I did not expect a gold medal at all at this competition, but it means a lot for me and it is a very good start into the season.“
Alexia Paganini (18) from Switzerland, fourth at Europeans 2020 and seventh of the Cup of Russia 2019, took the silver medal with 168.85 points. In June, she left the USA quickly because of the high numbers of Covid-19 and now trains in Stephane Lambiel‘s school in Switzerland. She won the short program with a performance which included a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, an under-rotated triple loop, an excellent step sequence and four other convincing elements. Skating to “Caught out in the Rain“ by Beth Hart, she received components of around 7.4. The beginning of her free program to a Tango medley was bad, because she fell on the opening first triple Lutz and almost missed the second triple Lutz as well. After a solid triple Salchow and a very good double Axel, her triple loop of her combination was under-rotated, followed by a double toe loop and a fall on the double loop. Three more jumps were clean, the spins and steps very good.
Jenni Saarinen (21) from Finland, who trains in Oberstdorf, Germany with Michael Huth all year, took the bronze medal, winning 163.87 points. She excelled by high jumps, but not all of them were correctly landed. In the short to “Clair de Lune“ by Claude Debussy, she fell on the triple flip and the combination of two triple toe loops was a bit shaky, but the five other elements were very good. Her components had an average of 6.9. She opened her long program to oriental music with a fall on the triple Lutz, followed by a triple loop and a triple flip, but one quarter of the rotation was missing on both jumps. The rest of the program was good, the step sequence even excellent.
The German champion Nicole Schott (24), who also trains with Carolina Kostner’s former coach of Michael Huth, was fourth, earning 156.27 points. She had been second in a faultless short program with a very good triple loop and a good combination of two triple toe loops. She skated in an elegant style while performing to “What A Feeling“ from “Flashdance“ and had components of around 6.9. She began her free program with a good combination of triple flip and double toe loop (which was planned triple), but the next three jumps came only double instead of triple. Her triple Salchow was landed on two feet, followed by a single Axel. Her last jump was a solid double Axel. Her best element in her Vivaldi program was her step sequence which had a level 4.
Josefin Taljegard (25) from Gothenburg in Sweden finished on fifth position with 151.54 points. Her short program included a solid triple flip and a good combination of triple toe loop and double toe loop and was flawless. Her change foot combination spin was excellent. In her long program, however, she made five more or less serious mistakes. The second German skater Nathalie Weinzierl (26), who trains with Olympic Champion Anett Poetzsch, came sixth with 143.01 points. She opened her short program with a clean combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, but then singled the Axel and doubled the loop – two elements without any points. In her free program, three triple jumps were O.K, but the Lutz a bit shaky and she fell on the loop.
Dutch skater Lindsay van Zundert (15) is on seventh position with 141.93 points in her senior debut. Anna La Porta from Switzerland finished eighth, earning 139.96 points and Czech skater Eliska Brezinova, the sister of Michal Brezina, ended up ninth of the 22 skaters with 139.32 points.