Top favorites Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia lead after the Pairs short program at Nebelhorn Trophy, but it was a controversial win over USA’s Caydee Denney and John Coughlin. Germany’s Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende placed third.
Volosozhar and Trankov had drawn to skate first and really had an off-day. They opened their program to Bring Me to Life by Evanescence with their signature huge triple twist, then things went downhill from there. Volosozhar stepped out of the triple toe and put her hand down on the throw triple flip and then their lift failed to go up. The lift received no level, which meant zero points. The whole program looked ragged. The World silver medallists got 57.91 points.
Denney and Coughlin were much smoother in their East of Eden program. Their triple twist was huge as well, and they completed a side by side triple toe, a throw triple flip, and a difficult hand-to-hip lift. However, their footwork merited only a level one. The Americans, who have only been skating together since the end of May, scored 57.56 points.
“We have to analyze what went wrong,” Volosozhar said. “Maybe it happened because this was our first competition and we were lacking confidence.”
“Or maybe it was the opposite, and we were too relaxed,” Trankov commented. “We skated first and didn’t even have time to get nervous. We were ready to skate well, though.”
Trankov added that they received this version of their music without lyrics only on Monday and the program still felt new to them.
“We could have made mistakes, but not so many,” sighed Volosozhar.
Trankov blamed the new rules for the error on the lift.
“Many pairs that have been skating for a longer time were struggling with the lifts today because the rules were changed in favor of the young teams who grew up with the new technique. It is harder for us, the older generation, to do it,” he elaborated. “It is very hard now to get a level four. I’ve talked to others and we all felt that we have to learn the lifts from scratch.”
Trankov also revealed that he suffered a shoulder injury in the summer and was unable to practice a lot of lifts.
While the Russians, according to Trankov, were ashamed of their performance, the Americans couldn’t have been any happier.
“I thought that we had a good skate our first time out internationally together,” Denney noted. “We can take a lot from this performance and learn a lot when we get home to improve even more.”
The team clicked quickly.
“They have the same work ethics,” coach Daliah Sappenfield explained. “When they first tried out, they remarkably had a lot of the same technique and so it was very easy to get them together.”
Skating to Music Was My First Love, Hausch and Wende landed a throw triple Salchow, a triple toe, and earned a level four for the footwork and the pair combination spin to score 53.40 points. The lift and the death spiral were a level two. It was Hausch’s 23rd birthday and she didn’t mind competing.
“When you perform like this, it is like an extra present,” she said, smiling.
Russia’s Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov had a rough start. Bazarova doubled the toe and fell and Larionov fell over her. They recovered to produce a high triple twist, a throw triple flip, and a level-four lift and finished fourth at 52.50 points.
Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers of Canada are currently sitting in fifth. Lawrence fell on an underrotated triple toe. Jessica Dube and new partner Sebastien Wolfe of Canada are ranked sixth. They went for a side by side triple flip, but got an edge call and Wolfe’s jump was shaky. They also aborted the lift.