With the fewest spots available of any discipline, the pairs event at Nebelhorn could be quite the nail-biter, with a medal-winning performance required in order to snatch one of the last Olympic spots.
- Three Olympic spots available
- Countries who can earn a second spot: none (Japan had the option but isn’t sending anyone)
- Countries who can earn a third spot: China
|Laura BARQUERO / Marco ZANDRON*||Spain||SP: 65.12|
|Karina SAFINA / Luka BERULAVA||Georgia||SP: 57.64|
|Anastasia GOLUBEVA / Hektor GIOTOPOULOS MOORE||Australia||SP: 57.35|
|Lana PETRANOVIC / Antonio SOUZA KORDEIRU||Croatia||SP: 53.70|
|Zoe JONES / Christopher BOYADJI||Great Britain||SP: 52.57|
|Coline KERIVEN / Noel-Antoine PIERRE||France||SP: 53.20|
|Yuchen WANG / Yihang HUANG||China||SP: 54.09|
|Bogdana LUKASHEVICH / Alexander STEPANOV||Belarus||SP: 46.20|
|Greta CRAFOORD / John CRAFOORD*||Sweden||SP: 47.13|
|Sara CONTI / Niccolo MACII||Italy||SP: 45.43|
|Daria DANILOVA / Michel TSIBA||Netherlands||SP: 47.86|
|Hailey KOPS / Evgeni KRASNOPOLSKI*||Israel||SP: 48.71|
|Anna HERNIK / Michal WOZNIAK||Poland||None|
|Sofiia HOLICHENKO / Artem DARENSKYI||Ukraine||None|
Note: An (*) indicates that a team does not have ISU personal best scores but earned scores at 2021 Cranberry Cup or Lombardia Trophy. These events did not qualify for ISU personal best scores but had international judging panels so are roughly comparable for the purposes of this comparison. (2021 Lombardia Trophy did not count as a Challenger Series event in the pairs discipline.)
Laura Barquero / Marco Zandron (Spain): Favorites in this event after a strong showing at Lombardia, Barquero and Zandron are Spain’s best hope for an Olympic berth outside of the ice dance event. Barquero had some moderate international success with previous partners Tom Consul and Artiz Maestu, but will be hoping that teaming up with Italian-born Marco Zandron nets better results for Spanish pairs.
Karina Safina / Luka Berulava (Georgia): This young team only has one previous outing, winning a silver medal at JGP Kosice earlier this month. Earning an Olympic spot is quite a lot of pressure so early in their partnership, but they can certainly earn the scores to do so as long as they can stay strong mentally.
The next five highest ranked teams all have personal best scores within six points of each other, so it really is anyone’s game here. Anastasia Golubeva/ Hektor Giotopoulus Moore (Australia), Lana Petranovic / Antonio Souza Kordeiru (Croatia), Zoe Jones / Christopher Boyadji (Great Britain), Coline Keriven / Noel-Antoine Pierre (France), and Yuchen Wang / Yihang Huang (China) all have very good chances.
For the ultimate feel-good story, cheer on Zoe Jones / Christopher Boyadji (Great Britain). Jones previously qualified as a singles skater for the 1998 Olympics, however the British Olympic Association had their own rules for competitors and required a certain number of triple jumps to be landed at the national championships. Under immense pressure, Jones suffered a torn hamstring a week before nationals and was out of competition for a year, missing her shot at the Olympics. To qualify for the Olympics over twenty years later, at age 41 (she would be 42 at the time of the Beijing games), after ten years in coaching and giving birth to three children would be one of the greatest Olympic stories ever.
The Chinese team of Yuchen Wang / Yihang Huang will also be under a great deal of pressure to qualify a third spot for their home Olympics after they had to withdraw from the World Championships for unspecified reasons.