The women’s event at Nebelhorn is likely the most competitive field of the weekend, with lots of heavy hitters and plenty to watch even outside of Olympic qualification. Here’s how things stand:
- Six Olympic spots available
- Countries who can earn a second spot: Austria (Belgium had the option but isn’t sending anyone)
- Countries who can earn a third spot: United States
|Alysa LIU||United States||SP: 74.31|
|Ekaterina KURAKOVA||Poland||SP: 66.08|
|Alexia PAGANINI||Switzerland||SP: 68.82|
|Viktoriia SAFONOVA||Belarus||SP: 64.35|
|Lara Naki GUTMANN||Italy||SP: 62.41|
|Nicole RAJICOVA||Slovakia||SP: 64.08|
|Kailani CRAINE||Australia||SP: 60.64|
|Julia LANG||Hungary||SP: 58.20|
|Lea SERNA||France||SP: 62.43|
|Dasa GRM||Slovenia||SP: 58.91|
|Sophia SCHALLER||Austria||SP: 52.45|
|Anastasiya GALUSTYAN||Armenia||SP: 52.39|
|Julia SAUTER||Romania||SP: 54.28|
|Tzu-Han TING||Taiwan||SP: 56.26|
|Anastasiia SHABOTOVA||Ukraine||SP: 52.68|
|Emilea ZINGAS||Cyprus||SP: 46.86|
|Isadora WILLIAMS||Brazil||SP: 55.20|
|Taylor MORRIS*||Israel||SP: 54.23|
|Aleksandra GOLOVKINA||Lithuania||SP: 51.73|
|Maia SORENSEN||Denmark||SP: 45.67|
|Anete LACE||Latvia||SP: 51.74|
|Antonina DUBININA||Serbia||SP: 50.47|
|Tara PRASAD*||India||SP: 44.66|
|Jocelyn HONG*||New Zealand||SP: 41.22|
|Sinem PEKDER||Turkey||SP: 43.16|
|Joanna SO||Hong Kong||SP: 50.00|
|Aldis Kara BERGSDOTTIR||Iceland||SP: 44.85|
|Eugenia GARZA||Mexico||SP: 38.35|
|Bagdana RAKHISHOVA||Kazakhstan||SP: 37.06|
|Yae-Mia NEIRA||Chile||SP: 31.92|
|Romana KAISER||Liechtenstein||SP: 34.93|
|Thita LAMSAM||Thailand||SP: 35.80|
|Sofia Lexi Jacqueline FRANK||Philippines||None|
Note: An (*) indicates that the skater’s scores were earned at 2021 Cranberry Cup or U.S. Classic and were significantly higher than their ISU personal best. These events did not qualify for ISU personal best scores but had international judging panels and happened more recently that most ISU official events, so are roughly comparable for the purposes of this comparison.
Alysa Liu (USA): Liu is almost in a class of her own in this event. She has looked incredibly solid and consistent through several outings so far this season and should have no problem grabbing a third Olympic spot for the United States. We might see a triple Axel attempt in the free skate, but for the most part Liu will be without the quads and ultra-C elements that put her on the map in juniors. However, her strong triple jumps and improved skating skills will place hear near the top here.
Ekaterina Kurakova (Poland): One of several women’s skaters to make a surprise exit from Worlds after the short program, Kurakova is certainly a favorite for a top six finish at this event.
Alexia Paganini (Switzerland): Paganini was another shocker at Worlds, missing the free skating cutoff by less than half a point despite being a consistent top-10 finisher at Europeans. A recent coaching change will hopefully bring the refresh she needs to move forward and put out her best skating at Nebelhorn.
Also in the running
Viktoriia Safonova (Belarus): Safonova put up some strong results after switching to represent Belarus in 2019, but was derailed by the pandemic and later had to withdraw from Words due to testing positive for COVID-19. Though she doesn’t have a ton of international experience, she has the potential to be near the top here.
Lea Serna (France): After French front-runner Mae Berenice Meite ruptured her Achilles tendon during her Worlds short program, France tragically lost out on their shot to qualify a women for the Olympics. Serna will need some strong skates and probably some mistakes from a few others, but it would be a great story if she’s able to hang onto that spot.
Dasa Grm (Slovenia): In a discipline dominated by teenagers, Dasa Grm qualifying for the Olympics at age 30 would be quite the story. Like others she’ll need a bit of luck and a hell of a weekend, but the Slovenian, who also choreographs and occasionally coaches herself, isn’t too far off the top of the field.
Cyprus: I’m covering this one as a country because it depends on decisions from their national governing body. Emilea Zingas is currently scheduled to compete, but substitute Marilena Kitromilis had an outstanding showing at Autumn Classic International this weekend, scoring over 180 points and winning the event. That would give her the fifth highest personal best in the field at Nebelhorn, so if Kitromilis could possibly get to Germany in time, Cyprus has a real shot at earning a spot at the Olympics, their first ever in figure skating.
Others in the mix include Lara Naki Gutmann (Italy), Nicole Rajicova (Slovakia), Kailani Craine (Australia), and Julia Lang (Hungary).
Throwing a wrench in things
Also competing this weekend is Swedish skater Josefin Taljegard. Taljegard has already qualified an Olympic spot for Sweden by finishing 15th at her home Worlds in March. However, the Swedish Olympic committee has their own rules about which athletes they send which are absurdly stringent, requiring a result equal to eighth place in the preceding World Championships. In this case, that means a total score of 198.77, over 20 points higher than the personal best Taljegard achieved for her breakout performance.
Taljegard is already entered in a number of fall competitions, doing her best to achieve the marks the Olympic committee wants, but without them, Sweden will forfeit their spot and the seventh ranked Nebelhorn skater would qualify a place for their country instead.
The women’s field at this event is stacked, with lots of skaters very close together and everything to play for.