Oberstdorf / Germany


European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov of Russia skated to the lead in the Pairs Short Program Thursday at Nebelhorn Trophy. World silver medalists Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot of Germany are sitting in second place before the Free Skating on Friday while Austria’s Miriam Ziegler/Severin Kiefer came third.

Tarasova/Morozov put out a strong performance to «Piano Concerto No 2 » by Sergei Rachmaninov, that was highlighted by a triple twist, side by side triple toe and a triple throw loop. They scored 77.52 points. « For the first competition of the season the short program was not bad, it was good, but we had some little mistakes », Morozov noted.

Savchenko/Massot produced a big triple twist and three level-four elements in their Flamenco routine « Fuego », but she fell on the throw triple Axel and stepped out of the landing of the triple Salchow. The World and European silver medalists scored 72.99 points. « It is our first competition and still a practice for us. We still need to practice this program. But we feel good and we know that we still have to work for the Grand Prix », Massot explained.

Ziegler/Kiefer landed a triple twist, triple toe and throw triple flip in their program to « Sunshine to Leith » to set a new personal best of 65.09 points. « This is our only chance to qualify for the Olympic Games and we got off to a good start and we hope to continue like that tomorrow », Kiefer told the press.

Nebelhorn Trophy is the designated Olympic Qualifying Event this season. 16 Olympic spots for Pairs were allocated at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 and five more spots are available at Nebelhorn Trophy. Originally four spots were available, but since France returned their second Pairs quota place, a fifth spot has opened up for the competitors at Nebelhorn Trophy.

For full results and schedules please see here . Follow the discussion on social media by using #FigureSkating and #NebelhornTrophy.