Olympic judges draw held in OberstdorfRussia well represented in team event; Nebelhorn winners, losers
In Oberstdorf, after the last Olympic spot had been decided at the Nebelhorn Trophy, another selection took place: the judges' draw for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Countries that qualified entrants to the four events, based on finishes at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships and Nebelhorn, were entered into the draw. Thirteen countries were drawn for each of the four individual figure skating events. Nine of those judges will be seated on the short program panel, which is drawn 45 minutes before the start of the event. The remaining four judges are swapped onto the panel after another draw 45 minutes before the free skates and free dance.
With 13 judges drawn, most countries with skaters likely to figure into the medal mix in their events gained spots on the panels. One exception: Canada, home of three-time world champion Patrick Chan, will not have a judge on the men's panel.
Kazakhstan, home to Denis Ten, who placed second to Chan at the 2013 World Championships, does not have an ISU-qualified judge and was not entered in the draw.
The judges were drawn as follows:
Men's: Spain, Japan, United States, France, Czech Republic, Germany, China, Uzbekistan, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Estonia
Ladies: Korea, Italy, Japan, United States, Canada, Russia, France, Sweden, Ukraine, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany, Great Britain
Pairs: Russia, Germany, Canada, China, France, United States, Italy, Great Britain, Ukraine, Estonia, Israel, Bulgaria, Poland (These last two countries do not have pairs entered but were needed to fill out the 13-judge allotment.)
Ice dance: United States, Canada, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, China, Australia, Japan
For the new Olympic team event, nine judges for each of the four disciplines were drawn, and they will judge both the short programs and free skates. A country does not have to compete in the team event to have a judge seated on the panel.
Ladies team event: Russia, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Estonia, Israel, Ukraine, China
Men's team event: Japan, Uzbekistan, Sweden, United States, Russia, Germany, Canada, Bulgaria, Great Britain
Pairs team event: Russia, Germany, Canada, China, Great Britain, Ukraine, Estonia, Israel, Bulgaria
Ice dance team event: Japan, China, Italy, Ukraine, Australia, Lithuania, Russia, Great Britain, United States
The top 10 figure skating nations will compete in the team event, with Canada, Russia and the United States generally considered the strongest threats to medal. Of those countries, Russia will have a judge in all four disciplines, while the United States will have judges on the men's and ice dance panels. Canada will seat judges on the men's and pairs panels.
All federations with judges drawn must provide the names of the judges selected for Sochi within 10 days of the publication of the ISU communication announcing this draw.
Now that the final Olympic spots have been decided, here's a quick look at the countries that fared well -- and not so well -- in Oberstdorf:
Australia: The biggest winner in the fight for Sochi spots qualified three disciplines for Sochi. Brendan Kerry placed eighth in men's, while Danielle O'Brien and Gregory Merriman took sixth in dance. Brooklee Han led all qualifiers with her fifth-place showing in ladies.
Brazil: With her 12th-place finish, Isadora Williams earned the right to become Brazil's first-ever Olympic figure skater. She trains in Ashburn, Va., under Andrei Kriukov.
Turkey: For the first time, the country will enter an ice dance team: Alisa Agafonova and Alper Ucar. Agafonova, a former Ukrainian competitor, and Ucar, who initially competed in singles, train with Alexander Zhulin's group in Moscow. They placed an impressive fifth.
Italy: Paul Bonifacio Parkinson, 10th among the men, won the right for a man to join Carolina Kostner; ice dancers Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte; and pair Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek in Sochi.
Japan: The new team of Narumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kihara placed 11th and qualified only as first substitute. However, Cathy Reed and Chris Reed were seventh, giving Japan an ice dance entry to add to its powerhouse singles teams.
Phillipines: Alisson Krystle Perticheto was unable to qualify in ladies, but Michael Christian Martinez grabbed a men's spot with his seventh-place finish, giving the Phillipines an Olympic figure skater for the first time ever.
Finland: European bronze medalist Kiira Korpi injured an Achilles tendon shortly before Nebelhorn and withdrew. Jullia Turkkila's 14th-place finish only qualifies Finland as second substitute in the ladies event. Neither the man nor the ice dance team entered qualified a spot.
Switzerland: One of the founding nations of the ISU, and home to two-time world champion Stéphane Lambiel and European champion Sarah Meier, did not qualify any skaters for Sochi.
This scorecard comes with a few caveats. In the ice dance event, Isabella Tobias, who placed 15th in the world with her Lithuanian partner Deividas Stagniūnas, must gain Lithuanian citizenship prior to Sochi. If she does not, Lithuania will likely return its spot to the IOC, and Slovakian ice dancers Federica Testa and Lukas Csolley will qualify. (Note: This will not impact the composition of the ice dance judging panel; the Lithuanian judge will remain.)
In 2010, the Israeli Olympic Committee refused to send Tamar Katz, who qualified in the ladies event after Georgia returned one of its two ladies spots, to the Vancouver Olympics; the committee based its decision on Katz's results at the European Figure Skating Championships. However, Israeli skaters who qualified 2014 Olympic spots in Nebelhorn, including Alexei Bychenko (fifth in men) and Andrea Davidovich and Evgeni Krasnopolski (10th in pairs), said they were confident they would be sent to Sochi.
"The rules have changed since 2010," Krasnopolski said. "We will definitely go."