At the end of October, the city of Graz (Austria) hosted Ice Challenge, its annual figure skating international competition and, since 2014-2015 season, one of the 10 events forming the ISU Challenger Series. With skaters trying to achieve their minimum scores needed for the bigger events of the season, no wonder Ice Challenge has become an important stop to many top athletes in all four disciplines. Just look at this year’s medalists and you’ll understand why Graz has easily inserted itself on the figure skating map, attracting also a growing number of international fans.
In the pairs event, America’s Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim won the gold, followed by Germany’s Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert and Italy’s Nicolle Della Monica and Matteo Guarise. The Russians Artur Dmitriev and Mikhail Kolyada placed first, respectively third in the men’s event, while the American Jason Brown took the silver. The best ice dancers in Graz were Danielle Thomas and Daniel Eaton from USA, followed by Misato Komatsubara and Andrea Fabbri (Italy) and Olesia Karmi and Max Lindholm (Finland). Finally, the ladies’ crown was won by the talented Mirai Nagasu (USA), with Maria Artemieva (Rus) taking silver and the American Tyler Pierce winning bronze. All in all, it was USA taking 7 out of the 12 medals awarded at Ice Challenge (3 gold medals, one silver, one bronze).
Photographer Wilma Alberti was Inside Skating’s eyes and ears in Graz – and we invite you to relive some of the biggest moments of the competition, as seen through her lens. Enjoy.
by Florentina Tone
Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim skating their short program in Graz, to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”
At the end of the Short Program segment of the competition, Italy’s Nicolle Della Monica and Matteo Guarise were laying in second, after performing a moving routine, to “Magnificat” by Mina
In their first season together as a pair, Germany’s Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert chose to skate in their Short Program to “Stranger in Paradise” (from Alexander Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances”), as performed by Sarah Brightman. They finished this particular segment of the event on the third place.
The American Jason Brown won the Short Program in Graz, with his eye-catching routine, to “Love is Blindness” (from the movie “The Great Gatsby”), perfomed by The Grey Orchestra. Inspired musical choice, glorious choreography (hats off, Rohene Ward) and a young man who truly loves to skate – isn’t this the perfect formula for a great performance?
Artur Dmitriev is the son of a famous father: two-time Olympic Pairs Champion Artur Dmitriev (sr). At this year’s edition of Ice Challenge in Graz, Artur Dmitriev jr. was second after the Short Program
Another Russian skater, Mikhail Kolyada, was third after the SP segment of the competition; Mikhail skated a fun routine, embodying the wolf in the famous Russian cartoons “Nu zait, nu pogodi”
This new ice dancing couple, America’s Danielle Thomas and Daniel Eaton, chose to skate to selections from “Cinderella” in the Short Dance – and won this particular segment of the event in Graz (Daniel formerly skated with Alexandra Aldridge)
Laying in second after the Short Dance were Italy’s Misato Komatsubara and Andrea Fabbri
Competing in a home ground event, Austria’s Barbora Silna and Juri Kurakin finished the Short Dance segment on the third place
As a part of Korea’s strategy to have competitors in all disciplines at 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, here’s an ice dancing couple for the future: Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin (6th after the SD)
This season, Mirai Nagasu is skating to “Demons” in the Short Program (choreography by Catarina Lindgren) – the 22-year-old lady finished this segment of the competition on the second place but captured the gold in the end
Skating to “16 Tons” by LeAnn Rimes and “Can’t Touch It” by Ricki-Lee Coulter, Russia’s Serafima Sakhanovich was fifth after the Short Program; she finished the event in Graz on the 4th place
…and while the ladies were skating their short programs, the practice session for men was under way; here’s Artur Dmitriev (jr)
This is how diamonds are made: America’s Jason Brown polishing his free program during a practice session in Graz
Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim won both segments of the pairs event in Graz; here they are, performing their free skate to music from the movie “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Skating to music from the movie “West Side Story” (a program choreographed by Mark Pillay), Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert placed second after their free skate – and captured the silver overall
Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise were only 4th after their “Cosmic Journey” free skate, but managed to retain the bronze medal in Graz
Russian Mikhail Kolyada won the free skate in Graz – but, as he had to make up for a considerable difference after the SP, he placed third overall; he skated to music from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
The gold in the men’s event at 2015 Ice Challenge went to Russian Artur Dmitriev
Skating to “The Scent of Love”, music from the movie “The Piano”, Jason Brown was 4th after the long program – but managed to retain the silver medal overall
As Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim in the pairs event, American ice dancers Danielle Thomas and Daniel Eaton dominated both segments of the competition; for the free dance, they chose to skate to “Czardas” by Zoltan Maga, played by Sonia Lee
With their free skate to Timo Lassy’s songs (“Where’s the Man”, “The Good Life”, “Teddy the Sweeper”), Finland’s Olesia Karmi and Max Lindholm finished the free dance segment on the 2nd place – and won the bronze overall
Third after the free skate, Italy’s Misato Komatsubara and Andrea Fabbri won the silver medal in Graz, at this year’s edition of Ice Challenge