Jorik Hendrickx of Belgium claimed the gold at Nebelhorn Trophy and earned an Olympic spot for his country Friday in Oberstdorf, Germany. Alexander Johnson (USA) skated to the silver medal while Sweden’s Alexander Majorov clinched the bronze and also a berth for the Olympic Winter Games 2018.
Hendrickx turned in an excellent peformance to ”Concierto de Aranjuez”, reeling off eight triple jumps including two Axels and a triple Lutz-triple toe-double loop combination as well as level-four spins and footwork. The Belgian Champion posted a new personal best score with 167.91 points for the Free Skating and 253.06 points total score. ”It is the Olympic qualifying tournament, but I just approached it as a normal competition. I’m very pleased with my performance. I didn’t have a good sleep last night and it has been a very long day. I tried to stay focused and I performed well”, Hendrickx commented.
Johnson, who coincidentally skated to ”Concierto de Aranjuez” as well, landed a rare triple Lutz-single loop-triple flip combination and three more triples, but he struggled with the triple Axel. The American was ranked sixth in the Free Skating with 143.59 points, which was a personal best, and held on to second place at 226.04 points overall. ”My free program was not what I wanted it to be, but I definitely showed some great things out there and didn’t give up even when things weren’t going my way. I’m proud of myself and I definitely accomplished a lot at this competition. Now it is time to go back to work”, the 27-year-old noted.
Majorov opened his James Bond program with a quadruple toeloop and hit six triples, but crashed on a triple flip. The multiple Swedish Champion scored 148.03 points for the Free Skating and was ranked fifth in this segment. He totaled 225.04 points to remain in third place. ”It (qualiying a spot) means a lot, because it is a part of the goal you have, which are the Olympic Games. It is a really important competition. I did it and I did it well. The free program was alright, I missed only one jump”, Majorov said.
Matteo Rizzo (ITA) was second in the Free Skating and moved up one spot to fourth place at 223.27 points followed by June Hyoung Lee (KOR) at 222.89 points and Julian Zhi Jie Yee (MAS) at 220.67 points. Yaroslav Paniot (UKR) came seventh (208.76 points). Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Korea, Malaysia and Ukraine earned spots for the Olympic Winter Games. Yee is the first Malaysian athlete to qualify for Olympic Winter Games.
The ISU Challenger Series Nebelhorn Trophy 2017 is the designated Olympic Qualifying Event this season. 25 Men, 34 Ladies, 11 Pairs and 16 Ice Dance couples compete for six available spots in Men’s, Ladies and Ice Dance and five spots in Pair Skating. More spots might become available if countries return Olympic quota places. 24 Olympic spots for Men and Ladies, 16 for Pairs and 19 for Ice Dance couples were allocated at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017.
For further information including results and follow the discussion on social media by using #FigureSkating #NebelhornTrophy and watch the live stream here. Nebelhorn Trophy concludes Saturday with the Free Dance, the Ladies Free Skating and the Exhibition Gala.