Russian phenom Yelena Radyonova, reigning world junior champion in figure skating, claimed gold in her senior international debut at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. Radyonova fell on a double Axel in the ladies’ free skate on Friday, but landed seven triple jumps to win over two-time world champion Miki Ando of Japan. At 14, Radyonova is too young to compete at a home Olympics in February. She will skate at the senior level in the Grand Prix Series this fall, however, where she will be tested against some of the top ladies in the world.
Ando, the 2007 and 2011 world champion, landed four triples during her free skate to Firebird, but lost points on her spins and footwork sequences to finish second. It was Ando’s first competition following a two-year hiatus. She hopes to earn a place on the Japanese Olympic Team and make her third trip to the Winter Games, where she finished 15th in 2006 and 5th in 2010. Joining her in Oberstdorf was her infant daughter, Himawari, born in April.
American Ashley Cain finished third in her senior international debut.
The Nebelhorn Trophy is the last opportunity for countries to qualify for Olympic entries. Two-time Olympian Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia qualified for a place in Sochi, while ladies from Australia, Norway, Austria, the Czech Republic and Brazil also secured places for their countries.
On the men’s side, Vancouver Olympian Nobunari Oda of Japan finished first following the men’s free skate on Saturday, proving that he will be in the mix to make the Japanese Olympic Team. American Jason Brown finished second in his senior international debut. Skaters from Italy, Ukraine, Australia, Philippines, Romania and Israel secured Olympic entries for their countries.