Craine and Kerry qualify for Australia in singles for Beijing 2022

Kailani Craine and Brendan Kerry both finished in seventh at Nebelhorn Trophy to qualify for Beijing 2022 Photo: FigureSkatersOnline/Robin Ritoss Photography

After three days of competition Australia will have two entries in the figure skating at Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics after Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine finished in seventh in the Men’s and Women’s Singles competitions respectively at Nebelhorn Trophy.

Men’s Singles

At his first competition since injuring his foot in March earlier this year, Brendan Kerry’s return showed signs that the best is yet to come for the 26-year-old, earning one of the last spots for Australia for Beijing 2022.

The men’s singles short program kicked off competition with seven Olympic qualification spots up for grabs.

Skating 29th out of the 30 athletes expectations were high for the Australian. He did not disappoint in the short executing one of the few clean short programs in the men’s singles.

The only notable mark against Kerry in the short program was a level three for his step sequence however he was rewarded with twos and threes for his grade of execution marks for the element (scored on a scale of -/+5).

Kerry finished the short program in third with a score of 85.89, while the United States’ Vincent Zhou lead with a score of 97.35 and Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA) was not too far ahead of Kerry in second with a score of 89.23.

It was a different story in the free skate for the Australian, unable to replicate a similarly clean skate on Friday. Falling on his second jumping pass, a triple lutz, earning a deduction on top of the lowest possible grade of execution score for the jump.

Another hiccup came on his second axel, intended to be a triple jump Kerry popped the jump only jumping a single axel costing him 7.59 base value points.

However, the 26-year-old rallied, deviating from his planned content for his final jump and jumping a triple axel this time making up for some of the points he lost earlier.

Kerry’s free program earned him a score of 133.06 putting him in seventh for the program and finishing seventh overall with a score of 218.95.

Zhou maintained his lead from the short program but didn’t have a flawless free skate receiving five ‘q’ calls on jumps that were landed on the quarter of a rotation and an under rotation call on his quad salchow-triple toe loop combination jump. He finished in first with a score of 186.88 for a combined total of 284.23.

Russia’s Mark Kondratiuk redeemed a weaker short program performance in the free skate, earning a personal best score at international competition scoring a 159.58, which was 10 points shy of his bronze medal-winning free skate at Russian Nationals last season, with a total score of 241.06 to finish third overall.

Siao Him Fa impressed once again in the free skate earning a score of 154.55, seemingly undaunted by two mid-program falls on his triple lutz and flip jumps respectively, recovering to complete the back half of the program and receiving level fours on his spins and step sequence. The 20-year-old finished Nebelhorn with a total score of 243.78 winning the silver medal.

RankAthleteShort ProgramFree ProgramTotal
1Vincent Zhou (USA)97.35186.88284.23
2Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA)89.23154.55243.78
3Mark Kondratiuk (RUS)81.48159.58241.06
7Brendan Kerry (AUS)85.89133.06218.95

The three remaining Olympic qualifying spots were won by Lee Si-hyeong (KOR), Vladimir Litvintsev (AZE) and Roman Sadovsky (CAN), with the reserve quotas going to Turkey, Armenia and Great Britain should any countries elect to not send a skater to Beijing.

Women’s Singles

Kailani Craine was the second Australian to earn an Olympic qualification spot for Australia at Nebelhorn, narrowly edging out other competitors with a seventh-place finish and a total score of 165.35.

The 23-year-old started strong in the short program showing off her triple loop-triple loop combination that has become a rarity in women’s skating in recent years.

Craine did receive an under rotation call on the second loop in the combo and on her first jump, a triple lutz, she received an unclear edge call which affected her grade of execution mark for the jump.

After the short the Australian sat in fourth less than half a point behind third-placed Viktoriia Safonova (BLR) who performed a cleaner program but had a lower base value than Craine.

Predictably the United States’ Alysa Liu lead after the short program with a score of 70.86, five points ahead of Alexia Paganini (SUI) who scored 65.65.

Much like Kerry, it was the free skate that put Craine at risk of narrowly missing out on qualification.

Of her seven jumping passes only two didn’t have an unclear edge or a rotation call, with the 23-year-old receiving three under rotation calls from her first four jumps and an unclear edge on her first triple flip and her triple lutz in combination.

Craine continued to fight with her final jump, a triple loop-double toe loop, being one of the saving graces of the program earning her enough points to edge out Italy’s Lara Naki Gutmann.

Once again Liu shined but she didn’t have the same ease as in the short, intending to do a triple axel for her first jump, she only singled the axel, additionally, the 16-year-old received unclear edge calls on both of her triple flip jumps. Otherwise, it was a quality program from the American receiving a personal best score at an international competition of 136.54.

Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) found her way onto the podium after a disappointing short program, with a near faultless performance. Kurakova’s skate was good enough to leapfrog her from sixth to second overall with a score of 132.54 and a total score of 193.58.

Safonova backed up her short program performance with another clean skate, earning a personal best score of 128.27 for her free skate and finishing with a total score of 190.29 to win bronze.

RankAthleteShort ProgramFree ProgramTotal
1Alysa Liu (USA)70.86136.54207.40
2Ekaterina Kurakova (POL)61.04132.54193.58
3Viktoriia Safonova (BLR)62.02128.27190.29
7Kailani Craine (AUS)61.62103.73165.35

The two remaining Olympic qualifying spots were won by Alexia Paganini (SUI) and Anastasiia Shabotova (UKR), with the reserve quotas going to Italy, Cyprus and Chinese Taipei should any countries elect to not send a skater to Beijing.

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Pairs

At their first senior competition and second competition in two weeks, Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore were unable to earn an Olympic qualification spot.

The Australian pair had a number of issues in their short program, the most glaring coming from their step sequence where Giotopoulos Moore fell resulting in Golubeva falling as well, this impacted not only their grade of execution but they also received a level one for the step sequence and two deductions due to both falling.

They also came undone in their lift receiving a base value score after losing balance in the change of holds and Giotopoulos Moore deciding to abort the lift and lower Golubeva to avoid dropping her.

It wasn’t all negatives however with both their side by side triple toe loop and the throw triple loop, earning positive marks. Ultimately they finished the short program in 13th with a score of 49.55.

Georgian pair Karina Safina and Luka Berulava lead after the short program, only having trouble with their side by side triple salchow and losing a level on their death spiral, they went into the free skate with a narrow lead of 66.46.

Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert from Germany finished the short in second with a score of 66.26, not fighting for an Olympic spot the pair didn’t have the same stakes on the line as others but were looking to claim their first gold since winning German Nationals in 2019.

In third after the short program was the Spanish team of Laura Barquero and Marco Zandron, definite landing their throws and jumps cleanly, the pair struggled with their levels, only receiving a level four for their lift.

In the free skate, the Australians still faced some difficulties, including two falls but managed to redeem themselves in other areas of the program, earning two level fours for their lifts and a level three.

The program saw them rocket up the rankings scoring a 99.80 and helped them finish Nebelhorn with a 149.35.

Despite not earning an Olympic qualification spot, Australia is now the third reserve for the pairs for Beijing 2022 and Golubeva and Giotopoulos Moore have met the minimum requirements to compete at the Four Continents Championships in January 2022.

Barquero/Zandron didn’t have the clean free skate they would have like but with other teams making mistakes they won the free skate with a score of 119.60.

However, it wasn’t enough to beat Hase/Seegert who’s four-point lead over the Spanish in the short program was enough to make up for their 118.99 in the free, earning them gold.

Despite it, all going wrong twice in the free skate for Safina/Berulava, with both their death spiral and one of their lifts having to be aborted before they were able to enter the element properly resulting in not even a base value score being awarded, however, their short program lead was more than enough to earn them a bronze medal and Georgia’s first-ever Olympic qualification for pairs.

RankAthleteShort ProgramFree ProgramTotal
1Minerva Fabienne Hase / Nolan Seegert (DEU)66.26118.99185.25
2Laura Barquero / Marco Zandron (ESP)62.01119.60181.61
3Karina Safina / Luka Berulava (GEO)66.46111.70178.16
8Anastasia Golubeva / Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS)49.5599.80149.35

The remaining qualification spot went to Hailey Kops and Evgeni Krasnopolski (ISR) and the first and second reserves went to China and Belarus.

Ice Dance

Australia’s last team looking to earn a qualification spot for Beijing 2022 was Holy Harris and Jason Chan in the Ice Dance and it was the tight competition it was expected to be.

Despite finishing the Rhythm Dance in ninth place, Harris/Chan weren’t as far off the pace as it might have seemed with 5.56 points separating them and third place.

The Australians only received two key points from the midnight blues pattern along with a level two on the midline step sequence but excelled in other areas of their program receiving level fours for their twizzles and rotational lift.

Ultimately they received a 63.05 which was a new personal best for the Australians in the rhythm dance.

Break out team for the 2021/2022 season so far, Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis (FIN) lead after the rhythm dance making up for their missed levels and pattern key points with high grade of execution and the best personal components score of the ice dance event, scoring 70.92.

Not far behind was Czech team Natálie Taschlerová and Filip Taschler who scored 70.51, likewise, they also struggled with their midnight blues pattern – which is common early in the season- but also received high grade of execution marks for all of their technical elements.

In third after the rhythm dance was Armenian pair Tina Garabedian and Simon Proulx Senecal, once again it was the favourable grade of execution scores that kept them ahead of other teams despite losing levels as they finished with a score of 68.61.

No longer having to worry about getting key points from the pattern, Harris/Chan appeared to look more in their element in the free dance.

Still missing levels in their one-foot step sequence and diagonal step sequence, they were able to make up some ground with their lifts and choreographic elements.

However, it wasn’t enough earning a 94.16 to finish eighth in the free dance and ninth overall with a score of 157.21, missing out on one of the four Olympic qualification spots.

Turkkila/Versluis shone once again, winning the free dance with a score of 110.27, once again their components score was a cut above the rest earning high sevens and eights for all areas of their comments.

Georgian pair Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya reminded everyone why they were so impressed two seasons prior with their free skate, scoring a 106.25, which was enough to make up the difference and put them on the podium in third with a total score of 173.20.

Not needing to earn an Olympic qualification spot, Katharina Müller and Tim Dieck (DEU) were simply chasing a podium finish at Nebelhorn and they weren’t going to be denied a medal. Despite a one-point deduction for an extended dance lift, the German pair looked confident scoring a 105.27 to take out silver with a total score of 173.74.

RankAthleteShort ProgramFree ProgramTotal
1Juulia Turkkila/Matthias Versluis (FIN)70.92110.27181.19
2Katharina Müller / Tim Dieck (DEU)68.47105.27173.74
3Maria Kazakova/Georgy Reviya (GEO)66.95106.25173.20
9Holly Harris / Jason Chan (AUS)63.0594.16157.21

The two remaining Olympic qualifying spots were won by Tina Garabedian / Simon Prolux Senecal (ARM) and Natalie Taschlerova / Filip Taschler (CZE), with the reserve quotas going to Hungary, Korea and Italy should any countries elect to not send a skater to Beijing.

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About Jacqui Dodd 135 Articles
Jacqui is a journalist based in Melbourne. A fan of all things sports she primarily focuses on Olympics and Tennis news. You can hear her on The Inner Sanctum's Olympics podcast, Ascending Olympus.

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