OBERTSDORF, Germany – Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro launched their international season with a gold medal performance Friday in pairs at the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition.
The event is the fifth stop on the ISU Challenger Series, a set of competitions which serves as a tune-up for the upcoming Grand Prix season.
The Canadians, seventh at the world championships last spring, earned 210.35 points as they neared their international best 211.05. Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim of the U.S. were second Friday at 202.41 and Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim of North Korea were third at 183.02.
“We’re definitely happy for a September competition,” said Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont. “We know the areas where we can grow. We’re still learning in our program which spots need to be adjusted. We want to be competitive with the big guns this year and this was a good starting point.”
In men’s competition, Canadian champion Nam Nguyen of Toronto delivered the second best free skate to climb from ninth to fourth place overall.
Maka Ignatove of Russia also made a spectacular comeback surging from seventh to first for the gold with 220.51 points. Koshiro Shamada of Japan took the silver at 214.98 and Alexey Bichenko of Israel was third at 214.70.
Nguyen quickly forgot about his struggles in Thursday’s short program and finished at 209.84.
“I felt better physically and mentally today,” said Nguyen about his free skate. “I was able to take charge of myself and do what I was suppose to. Considering how bad the short went, I’m pretty happy with how I pulled through for the long.”
Ice dancers Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal are in first place after Friday’s rhythm dance.
Fournier-Beaudry and Sorensen earned 81.16 points with Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the U.S. second at 76.99 and Olivia Smart of Adrian Diaz of Spain third at 75.80.
Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C., are 11th.
Competition ends Saturday with the free dance.
Full results: Nebelhorn Trophy 2019