Deniss Vasiljevs became the first Latvian to win the Nebelhorn Trophy on Friday in Oberstdorf, Germany. Having started the day in fifth place – the 21-year-old athlete performed a career-best free skate and took the coveted prize.
Vasiljevs began his program with a quad salchow and followed up with two triple axels. He kept the momentum and artistry throughout, making a mistake on one combination but did not fall. The score of 159.83 points for his free skate performance is his personal best, and the total amount of 233.08 points in the competition earned him the gold medal.
After the short program, the Latvian was trailing leader Paul Fentz by over eight points; however, the leaders all made costly mistakes and Vasiljevs’ magnificent skate propelled him past the opposition.
Gabriele Frangipani, who was second after the short program, remained in the runner-up position, having made errors on a few of his jumps and then falling on the final triple lutz. The Italian came into the free skate being about six points ahead of Vasiljevs but the difference in the free skate was the Latvian’s component score. Frangipani earned a total score of 231.65 points.
Sixth after the short program, Sweden’s representative Nikolaj Majorov made a comeback of his own for the bronze medal. A clean program helped him score a total amount of 218.07 points.
Fentz, the leader going into the day, fell once and made more crucial mistakes on his landings which dropped him all the way to sixth place with 212.25 points.
Former Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion Stephane Lambiel is Vasiljevs’ coach since 2016 and choreographed both of his programs this season. Tomorrow Lambiel will be looking to have another one of his students – Alexia Paganini – win at the Nebelhorn Trophy, as she is leading the ladies after the short program.
Men’s full results: