Wednesday, December 15

Swedish Nationals: Three-way race for the men; Which Helgesson sister will go to Euros?

The Swedish National Championships. Who would have thought it had the potential to be so exciting?

Adrian Schultheiss, Alexander Majorov, and Kristoffer Berntsson are fighting for the two entries to the European and World Championships. Schultheiss, whose high placement at last years' Europeans and top-ten finish at Worlds allowed the country to send two representatives in 2011, has had a rocky start to his season. He's changed coaches, been dealing with a groin injury, and hasn't skated near the level that earned him his success last year.

Alexander Majorov, on the other hand, has been on fire in the early months of this season. He won the NRW Trophy in Germany and the Ice Challenge in Graz, and also has a bronze medal from a Junior Grand Prix event in the Czech Republic. He looks to be the favorite heading into the event.

While Majorov won the competition in Austria, teammate Kristoffer Berntsson finished with the bronze medal. He made the decision to stay in the amateur ranks at the age of 28, and is known for his audience-friendly programs (his free skate this year is a Michael Jackson medley). Kristoffer won the silver medal at the Finlandia Trophy earlier this year, although he narrowly held on to a podium place after winning the short program.

Who do you think we will see at Europeans?

The ladies event also features what should be a close battle, between sisters Viktoria and Joshi Helgesson.  Both ladies have earned moderate results this season, and in the most recent head-to-head battle at Skate America, Joshi finished 4th overall while Viktoria finished 6th.

The rare situation here is that only one lady will be able to compete at the European Championships, but both (in the event that they are the gold and silver medalists) can compete in Tokyo for the World Championships after Viktoria finished in the top ten at the event last season.

Here are both of their great free skates from Skate America.


Meri said...

Majorov's been getting good placements but I don't think his scores have been high enough to indicate that he would be competitive against stronger fields. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Swedish Fed do a sort of mix and match like the FFSG likes to do, with one guy doing both, one going to Euros, and one to Worlds.

As for the ladies, it's anybody's guess.

Are there any decent pairs or dance teams in Sweden?

Anonymous said...

@Meri that's what I'm expecting too. Though I don't think Adrian or Kristoffer can be competitive against stronger fields either. No matter what, they are losing their 2nd spot at Worlds.

Tony, are you going to do a post for Czech Nationals too?

Tony said...

As far as I know, nothing in terms of pairs/dance in Sweden.

To Anonymous-- not necessarily. All one of the two entries needs to do is finish in the top 12 as long as the other one qualifies to the free skate. It might be a stretch, but it's definitely not impossible.

Czech Nationals are combined with Polish and Slovakian Nationals. Since there are two spots for both Euros/Worlds for the CZE men, I don't think there should be any trouble for the rejuvenated Verner or Brezina, even if he's coming back from injury.

Anonymous said...

I think Kaska could possibly beat Brezina if Brezina keeps having trouble with his triples.

Tony said...

I always root for Kaska, and I think it's because I still remember his face at Skate Canada a few years ago. His world ranking was good enough to put him in the second group for the short program, with all of the big names, and you could just see how out of place he felt.

However, even if Kaska were to beat Brezina at Nationals, I don't really see them leaving Michal off the Euros team unless he's REALLY bad.

Anonymous said...

Kristoffer Berntsson has a long career behind. He first attended Euros in 2000 at the age of 17 and 2011 will be his twelthe. His best result so far is 7th in 2008. Probably he will not be competitive to stronger fields in Euros 2011 either. When he made a name of himself in Sweden he had a weaker field to fight against in Sweden compared to nowadays with Schultheiss and Majorov. In some way you can understand Majorov´s frustration but nevertheless not accept the way he expressed it. Majorov needs experience and Kristoffer actually a medal. What will be the most realistic descision considering to the future???