Ando to make competitive return at NebelhornTwo-time world champion replaces injured Korpi
The German Figure Skating Federation announced Tuesday that Miki Ando, Japan's two-time world champion, plans to compete next week at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.
It will be Ando's first competition since the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow, where she defeated Yu-Na Kim to win her second world title. She won her first world title in 2007.
Following her victory in Moscow, she parted ways with coach Nikoli Morozov, returned to Japan and performed in shows. In 2012, she was nominated for two Grand Prixs but did not compete, saying she had not been able to find a coach in Japan.
On July 1 of this year, she revealed in a Japanese television interview that she had given birth to a daughter, Himawari, in April. Although Japanese media has speculated as to the identity of Himawari's father, Ando has declined to name the man, asking reporters to respect her privacy.
At that time, Ando said she planned to make her competitive debut at a small competition in Japan in October.
One motivation for her appearance at Nebelhorn is to gain the ISU minimum points required to compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. She would need to earn a technical element score (TES) of 20 in the short program and 36 in the free skate.
For the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships, which will be held in her home country, the minimum required scores are 26 for the short and 46 for the free.
Nebelhorn is the final qualifying competition for the 2014 Olympic Games; many countries that did not earn Olympic spots based on their skaters' finishes at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships have entered competitors. Due to the high number of entries, the German Skating Federation maintained an unofficial substitute list. Ando was entered after Finland's Kiira Korpi withdrew Monday due to injury.
The 24-year-old Korpi announced via Facebook, "Doctor told me some bad news. My Achilles tendon was partially torn last Tuesday while jumping on the ice. I will go to Finland for further examination and rehab. I hope to get back on the ice soon and be stronger than before."
Korpi, a three-time European medalist, missed the last two world championships due to injury. She left her Finnish coaches in early summer and now works with Rafael Arutunian in Southern California.
In her place, Finland is sending Juulia Turkkila to Oberstdorf to try to secure one of six available Olympic ladies spots for her country. If Turkkila, who finished 31st at the 2013 World Championships, is not successful, Finland will not field a ladies skater in Sochi.