Nebelhorn Trophy is a wonderful annual competition by itself – but every four years it has an additional layer of sparkles. You know what this means: skaters are offered a chance to qualify or secure spot(s) for their countries at the Olympics.

And that was the case with this year’s edition of Nebelhorn Trophy – and, in the second episode of our photo-journey The Olympic Season in Photos, we’re showing you the medalists, of course, but, more than that, the qualifiers, the securers of spots.

Still: we introduced a couple of additional snapshots as well, you’ll notice for yourselves – just for the beauty of it, and to remind you there are so many talented skaters out there. And that not going to the Olympics shouldn’t define who they are as athletes, or question their passion for the sport.

You got it: this photo-story from Oberstdorf has a bit of everything. Enjoy.

2021 Nebelhorn Trophy
September 22-25, 2021
Oberstdorf, Germany

Gold: Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis
Silver: Katharina Mueller and Tim Dieck
Bronze: Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya

Wonderful dancers Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis not only won the gold medals of the event, but also made sure that Finland will have a dancing couple in Beijing. RD with tons of character, to “Breathe You in My Dreams” by Trixie Whitley and “River” by Bishop Briggs.

Flowing free dance to “Wild Side” by Roberto Cacciapaglia and “Bruises” by Lewis Capaldi – how can you resist not being amazed with Juulia and Matthias?

Germany’s Katharina Mueller and Tim Dieck were not competing for an Olympic berth – but they had a lot of fun showing off their programs in Oberstdorf and left with the silver medal. RD to “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, “Toxic” by Britney Spears, “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.

FD to “Run To You”, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, “Queen Of The Night” by Alexandra Burke

Oh, we love these two, we do. Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya won the bronze medal in Oberstdorf and secured an Olympic spot for Georgia at the Olympics next year. RD to “Chosen One” by Valley Of Wolves and “Yeah” by Usher Feat. Lil Jon and Luda

FD to “Dummy” by Charlie Clouser, “Texas Gypsy Massacre”, “Mephisto’s Lullaby” by Xtortion Audio

Armenia will also have a dancing couple in Beijing, through the perseverance of Tina Garabedian and Simon Proulx Senecal, fourth in Oberstdorf. RD to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Think” by Aretha Franklin feat. The Blues Brothers

FD to “Autumn Leaves” by Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer, “Luck Be a Lady” by Frank Loesser

The last (ice dance) Olympic spot was confirmed by Natalie Taschlerova and Filip Taschler, brother and sister from the Czech Republic. FD to “Yuyo Verde” by Domingo Federico, Homero Exposíto, “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla

Bonus-photos of Yura Min and Daniel Eaton, representing South Korea; they have a beautiful set of programs for this season, as shown by the photos themselves. RD to “Down” by Marian Hill and “Thrift Shop” by Macklermore

FD to music from the movie “Les Misérables”

Gold: Alysa Liu
Silver: Ekaterina Kurakova
Bronze: Viktoriia Safonova

Alysa Liu has had a golden start of the season – gold in Bergamo, gold in Oberstdorf – and secured a third Olympic berth for the U.S. women in Beijing next year. She skates to a gypsy dance in the short – hence the colourful costume…

FS to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

One thing is sure: Ekaterina Kurakova’s joy is really contagious. In Oberstdorf, she managed to qualify an Olympic spot for Poland in the women’s event in Beijing next year – and we say hats off to Ekaterina for such a feat, for her passion for the sport, grit and perseverance. Glimpses of her short program to “Steppe” by Rene Aubry.

FS to “Terry Theme” from Limelight performed by Lisa Batiashvili

Viktoriia Safonova earned the bronze in Oberstdorf and also claimed an Olympic berth for Belarus. There you have her skating her long program to “Your Heart Is As Black As Night” by Melody Gardot and “Power” by Elliot Wheeler feat. Donna Missal.

In Oberstdorf, Alexia Paganini finished the competition on the 4th place and qualified a spot for Switzerland in the women’s event at the Olympics. This season, Alexia skates to “Summertime” by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, “Ich Dich Liebe” by Pink Martini in the short…

…and to “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov in the free.

Finishing 2021 Nebelhorn Trophy on the 5th place, Anastasiia Shabotova qualified a spot for Ukraine in the women’s event at the Olympics next year. This season, she has a Bond-themed long program – hence the photos.

The last qualifying spot in Oberstdorf went to Australia’s Kailani Crane, such a beautiful skater to watch. She skates to “Heart of Glass” by Blondie in the short…

…and to “Gangsta’s Paradise” in the free.

Bonus-photos: Italy’s Lara Naki Gutmann is a wonderful presence on the ice. She skates to “Elizabeth” and “Maria and the Violin’s String” in the short program…

…and to “Scheherezade” in the free. She’s the first alternate for Beijing.

Dasa Grm skates to music by Olafur Arnalds in both the short and the free

Léa Serna, SP to music from “Kill Bill”

FS to “La terre vue du ciel” by Armand Amar and “Dawn of Faith” by Eternal Eclipse

Romania’s Julia Sauter is skating to “I Can’t Go On Without You” by Kaleo in her SP

FS to “Me Before You” by X-Ambassadors, Unsteady, Erich Lee

Gold: Vincent Zhou
Silver: Adam Siao Him Fa
Bronze: Mark Kondratiuk

It was redemption time for Vincent Zhou in Oberstdorf, securing a third spot for US men in Beijing next year. SP to “Starry Starry Night” from the movie “Vincent”

FS to music from the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Adam Siao Him Fa was on a mission in Oberstdorf and he succeeded in securing a second Olympic spot for France in the men’s event in Beijing next year. SP to music from “Star Wars” arranged by Maxime Rodriguez

FS to Daft Punk, arranged by Cedric Tour

That was quite a feat from Russia’s Mark Kondratiuk in Oberstdorf, securing a third spot for his country at the Olympic next year. And we are surely going to hear more of him in the seasons to come. SP to music from the movie “Magnificent Century: Kösem”

FS to Overture (from “Jesus Christ Superstar” rock opera) by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Sihyeong Lee finished 5th in Oberstdorf – and, doing so, he managed to qualify a second Olympic berth for South Korea at the Olympics. SP to “Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin

FS to Carmen Suite after Bizet’s Opera by R. Shchedrin

Vladimir Litvintsev succeeded in qualifying an Olympic berth for Azerbaijan in the men’s event at the Olympics. The most appropriate word to describe Vladimir? This one: elegance. SP to Morceaux de fantasie Op. 3 by Sergei Rachmaninov

FS to music from the movie “The Joker”

Australia will also have an Olympic berth in the men’s event in Beijing due to Brendan Kerry’s 7th place in Oberstdorf. SP to “Leave A Light On” by Tom Walker

FS to a mix of songs and artists (Fazil Say, Travis Lake, 2WEI, Muse)

Actually, these photos are about flying, about elegance: through his performance in Oberstdorf, Roman Sadovsky secured a second Olympic berth for Canada in the men’s event in Beijing. FS to “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

Gold: Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert
Silver: Laura Barquero and Marco Zandron
Bronze: Karina Safina and Luka Berulava

Not looking to qualify or secure an Olympic berth, but winning the gold medals in the pairs’ event nevertheless: Germany’s Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert.This season, they’re skating to “You Are the Reason” by Calcum Scott, Leona Lewis in the short.

FS to “People Help the People” by Birdy in the free

Our personal highlight in the pairs event in Oberstdorf – and, surely, a highlight to so many admiring their talent and their progress: Laura Barquero and Marco Zandron finished the competition with a silver medal and…. qualified an Olympic spot for Spain (yes, they did!) in the Olympics next year. Laura and Marco are skating to “Dawn of Faith” by Eternal Eclipse in their SP, with really telling costumes as well…

…and to “Awakening” by Andy Quin, “Imagine” by Boyce Avenue, “Imagine” performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the free. And we’re in love with the pair they became in such a short amount of time.

Another first in the pairs’ event in Oberstdorf: Karina Safina and Luka Berulava qualified a spot for Georgia in the Olympic event next year. There you have them skating their long program to “In This Shirt” by The Irrepressibles. Impressive skills of what?

Congratulations also to the new pair Hailey Kops and Evgeni Krasnopolski, who placed 5th in Oberstdorf and qualified an Olympic pairs spot in Beijing for Israel.

For a wider image of what happened at #2021NebelhornTrophy with the Olympic berths – who took them, who missed them – do read this feature on ISU website.

[Intro and selection of photos by Florentina Tone/photos by Alberto Ponti, Oberstdorf]