Nebelhorn Trophy Mens Preview

There are several top men in this field and any one of them could grace the medal stand if they can put out a solid program early in the season.

Michal Brezina was injured for the Grand Prix last year and started back slow with low scores at his senior B events.  He was fully healthy by Worlds and was able to replicate his 4th place finish from the previous year.  He is taking advantage of the three Grand Prix opportunities this season and will be using this event for valuable feedback.

Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida of Japan are also contenders for the podium.  Hanyu’s Grand Prix scores fluctuated but he was able to set a personal best and take home a silver medal from Four Continents.  Machida also had varying scores throughout the Grand Prix and will need to be more consistent if he wants to keep pace with the top Japanese men.

Denis Ten had a rough season last year, finishing last and next to last in his two Grand Prix events.  He is a young skater and has had a few noteworthy results, but consistency is not one of his strong points.  Stephen Carriere of the United States also had a tough year, finishing 10th at Skate America and withdrawing from U.S. nationals.  After last season, he considered switching to pairs but is sticking it out in singles.  He’s had great results in his summer competitions and his Black Swan program is getting rave reviews from the judges.

Konstantin Menshov of Russia and Javier Fernandez of Spain had good seasons last year and will be looking to continue that trend.  Menshov won his first national title and finished a solid 7th at Europeans.  Fernandez battled some injuries in the middle of the season but recovered to finish in the top 10 at Worlds.  If all these skaters put out their best performances, it should be a tough event with the skaters evenly matched.  However, this is an early competition and most of the skaters will be looking for feedback that they can use to fine tune for the Grand Prix season and as some skaters have their events later than others, they may be in various stages of competition readiness.  This may give skaters like Stephen Carriere an advantage as he does not have a Grand Prix event and can lay everything out on the table here, while Michal Brezina with three events has to be more concerned with pacing and peaking at the right time.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Michal Brezina
Silver: Yuzuru Hanyu
Bronze: Javier Fernandez

Bios of the competitors:

Mitchell Chapman, AUS: His personal best is 86.53.  He is 23 years old.

Jorik Hendrickx, BEL: He finished 19th at Worlds, 16th at Europeans and 13th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 7th at JGP Austria and 6th at JGP Germany last season.  His personal best is 188.24.  He is 19 years old.

Kevin Alves, BRA: He finished 10th at JGP France last season.  His personal best is 141.44.  He is 19 years old.

Elladj Balde, CAN: His personal best is 184.89.  He is 20 years old.

Samuel Morais, CAN: He finished 6th at JGP Austria and 7th at JGP Germany last season.  His personal best is 164.06.  He is 19 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 4th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  He is the 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 236.06.  He is 21 years old.

Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari, FIN: His personal best is 170.88.  He is 28 years old.

Valtter Virtanen, FIN: He finished 16th in the preliminary round at Europeans.  His personal best is 129.08.  He is 24 years old.

Romain Ponsart, FRA: He finished 17th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 5th at JGP France and Germnay last season.  His personal best is 164.74.  He is 19 years old.

Franz Streubel, GER: He finished 7th at JGP France last season.  His personal best is 143.92.  He is 20 years old.

Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN: He is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist.  He placed 4th at NHK Trophy and 7th at Cup of Russia last season.  He is the 2010 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 228.01.  He is 16 years old.

Tatsuki Machida, JPN: He placed 5th at Cup of China and 11th at Cup of Russia last season.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 217.48.  He is 21 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He finished 14th at the World Championships.  He placed 12th at NHK Trophy and 11th at Skate America last season.  His personal best is 211.43.  He is 18 years old.

Boyito Mulder, NED: He finished 19th in the preliminary round at Europeans and 15th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds.  His personal best is 105.78.  He is 21 years old.

Min-Seok Kim, KOR: He finished 27th at Worlds and 15th at Four Continents.  He placed 11th at JGP Austria and 12th at JGP Germany last season.  His personal best is 168.59.  He is 18 years old.

Zhan Bush, RUS: He finished 11th at Junior Worlds.  He won bronze at JGP Austria and silver at JGP Great Britain last season to qualify for the JGP Final where he finished 7th.  His personal best is 176.64.  He is 18 years old.

Konstantin Menshov, RUS: He placed 7th at Europeans.  He finished 10th at Cup of Russia last season.  His personal best is 202.62.  He is 28 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He placed 10th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  He finished 5th at Skate Canada and 9th at Cup of Russia last season.  His personal best is 218.26.  He is 20 years old.

Javier Raya, ESP: He finished 19th at Europeans.  His personal best is 164.68.  He is 20 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He finished 5th at Junior Worlds.  He won bronze at JGP France and silver at JGP Japan last season to qualify for the JGP Final where he finished 4th.  His personal best is 193.92.  He is 19 years old.

Stephen Carriere, USA: He finished 10th at Skate America last season.  He is the 2007 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 218.30.  He is 22 years old.