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Stéphane Lambiel Takes Early Lead at Nebelhorn Trophy

Stéphane Lambiel won the short program at the 2009 Nebelhorn Trophy as he opened his quest to secure Switzerland a men’s spot in figure skating at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy ranked first after the pairs short program yesterday, while in ice dance Meryl Davis and Charlie White took the early lead. Today, Alissa Czisny won the short program for the ladies.

Lambiel scored 77.45 points to take the overnight lead. The two-time World champion (2005-06) fell on his opening quad attempt (part of a planned quadruple toe-triple toe combo), but bounced back to complete a solid program. His trademark spins were the highlight of his routine set to Giacomo Rossini's "William Tell Overture."

In second place was Michal Brezina (CZE), who scored four points less than Lambiel with a mark of 73.23. American Ryan Bradley skated into third place (68.18). Canadian Joey Russell placed fourth (67.80) followed closely by Russia’s Ivan Tretiakov (67.80). To see the full men’s short program results click HERE.

Meanwhile in the pairs competition, teams who are already likely Olympic-bound are atop the standings after the short program. Germany’s Savchenko and Szolkowy took a huge lead with a score of 72.80. Savchenko and Szolkowy are the two-time and reigning World champions. Ukraine’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov were in second place (59.46) and Canada’s Anabelle Langlois Cody Hay were third (57.48). To see the full short program results for the pairs discipline click HERE.

Davis and White took the lead after the compulsory round in ice dance dance. Results from that round can be found HERE .

Today the competition continues with the ladies short program, men and pairs free skating. Czisny skated into first in the ladies discipline with a mark of 60.38. Kiira Korpi of Finland is in second and Julia Sebestyen of Hungary The full rankings are available HERE.

Overall, skaters from 46 ISU member countries are competing at Nebelhorn Trophy, the designated qualifying competition for the 200 Olympic Winter Games being held in Oberstdorf, Germany through Sept. 26. The event began yesterday. Only countries not already qualified for the Games are competing for spots in Vancouver.

The maximum number of entries for the Olympic Winter Games is 30 for ladies and men, 20 for pairs and 24 for ice dance. According to ISU regulations, 24 entries in the singles’ events and 16 in the pairs’ event as well as 19 in the ice dancing event were determined at the 2009 World Championships in Los Angeles.

The remaining open entries available will be filled by ISU members in order of their placements at the Nebelhorn Trophy. The open entries are available only to those countries, which have not previously earned an entry in the respective discipline.

In the ladies’ event in Germany, 35 competitors from the following ISU members have been entered: AND, ARM, AUS, AUT, AZE, BEL, BRA, CHN, TPE, CZE, DEN, EST, FRA, HUN, IRL, LUX, MEX, NED, NZL, PHI, PUR, SRB, SLO, RSA, ESP, SWE, SUI, UKR, UZB. Not taking part in the qualifying process are ladies from FIN, GER and USA.

In the men’s event, 33 athletes from the following member nations have been entered: ARM, AUS, AUT, BLR, BIH, BRA, CHN, TPE, CRO, PRK, EST, FIN, GER, GBR, HUN, ISR, KOR, MEX, ROU, RSA, SVK, SUI, TUR.

Not competing for an Olympic spot are men’s skaters from CAN, CZE, FRA, JPN, POL, RUS, SLO, UKR and USA.

There are 19 entries in the pairs’ event, and the following countries still need to qualify an entry: TPE, PRK, EST, GRE, ITA, POL, SVK, SUI and UZB. The couples from CAN, FRA, GER, GBR, RUS, UKR and USA compete as well, but don’t qualify any additional entries for the Olympic Winter Games.

In the ice dance competition, couples from AUS, CHN, CZE, EST, GEO, GRE and HUN are competing for the five open spots.

Also participating in the event are ice dance couples from AUT, FIN, GER, GBR, ISR, ITA, LTU, RUS and USA.

In the event that ISU members do not exercise their right to announce their participation for the Olympic Winter Games within the IOC date limit, in accordance with ISU rules, stand-by entries will be chosen based on the final results of the Nebelhorn Trophy for those ISU members not qualified and not yet represented.