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Stakelum 29th At Nebelhorn Trophy

Earlier today Conor Stakelum (28) concluded the second of two consecutive days of competition at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, the final qualifying event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, finishing in 29th outside of a quota place.

Stakelum skated in the first warm-up group of the short programme yesterday morning where he debuted his new routine to “Soulseeker” by Thomas Bergersen. This season he is including the triple flip jump which he successfully landed as well as a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination. After an uncharacteristic mistake on a double Axel, he rallied to to execute a Level 4 flying sit spin and a Level 3 step sequence to earn 53.01 points for the segment.

For the free skating this season, Stakelum has chosen to perform to music from “Riverdance” by Bill Whelan. After a cautious start, he delivered a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination, a triple Salchow on its own followed by a Level 4 flying sit spin and a triple toe loop-double toe loop combination. He closed out the programme with a Level 4 change foot combination spin. He scored 87.66 for a combined total of 140.67 points.

“I am happy to have competed again after such a long time off,” Stakelum said. “This was the first free programme I have done in competition since November 2019, so 21 months!

“All the same I am disappointed that I couldn’t perform as well as I have been training. I was glad to get a triple flip out in the short which is new for me.

“I am looking forward to showing what I can do at more competitions this season.”

Seven skaters from the United States, France, Russia, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Australia and Canada claimed the remaining quota places available for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Stakelum Seeks Beijing Olympic Berth At Nebelhorn Trophy

Conor Stakelum (28) is Ireland’s sole representative at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2021 this week in Oberstdorf, Germany which serves as the final qualifying competition in figure skating for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Stakelum joins athletes from 25 other nations who will be seeking to pick up one of the remaining seven places available in the men’s singles event next February in China. Twenty-three places were already allocated at the World Figure Skating Championships in March of this year.

The five-time Irish senior champion and native Dubliner, who trains in Dundee, Scotland under the tutelage of Olympic coach Simon Briggs, will compete in Germany over the course of two days in short programme and free skating segments.

The Nebelhorn Trophy begins tomorrow 23 September and runs until 25 September. Stakelum will compete initially tomorrow morning (Thursday, 23 September) and again in the afternoon of Friday 24 September.

This will be Stakelum’s first competition since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Rink closures and travel restrictions have hampered his ability to train and compete over the past 16 months.

“I have worked very hard in the absence of competitions over the last year to improve my skating, increase the difficulty of my programmes and to be ready to compete when the chance came,” Stakelum said.

During the pandemic, the Dubliner put his degree in microbiology to good use when he signed up to the HSE Be On Call for Ireland recruitment drive in 2020 and was assigned to work as a laboratory assistant at a Dublin hospital. He is currently employed by the NHS in Scotland.

Stakelum will debut two new programmes in Germany. He will perform in the free skating to “Riverdance” by Bill Whelan.

“Obviously, this is a very well-known piece of music which many people enjoy,” Stakelum said. “I have always wanted to do a programme with an Irish theme so I am glad to be doing so this season.”

Stakelum’s progress in Germany can be followed via live stream (links below) and the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s social media accounts.

Nebelhorn Trophy Live Stream

Day 1 (23 September)

Day 2 (24 September)

Conor Stakelum International Skating Union Bio

Stakelum Selected For Beijing Olympics Figure Skating Qualifier

Conor Stakelum (28) has been selected by the Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) to represent Ireland at this season’s Nebelhorn Trophy (22-25 September) in Oberstdorf, Germany, the final qualifying competition in figure skating for the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games.

Stakelum last competed internationally at the European Figure Skating Championships held pre-pandemic in January 2020 and is relishing the opportunity to get back out onto the ice.

“I am very happy to have been selected to compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy,” he said. “I have worked very hard in the absence of competitions over the last year to improve my skating, increase the difficulty of my programmes and to be ready to compete when the chance came. I’m glad that the ISAI board have recognised this and I’m excited to have to opportunity to compete again!”

This will be the Dubliner’s third attempt at Olympic qualification. His two previous tries in 2013 and 2017 provided him with invaluable experience that he hopes to put to good use this time round.

“I learn from every competition I have competed in,” Stakelum said. “The most important thing I remind myself of at these types of events is to focus on my own performances which is all I can control and to enjoy the opportunity.”

The five-time Irish national champion will also be debuting two new programmes in Germany, one of which will have a particularly Irish flavour.

“My short programme is set to a piece of music called ‘Soulseeker’ by Thomas Bergersen. It is a powerful cinematic piece of music which I think suits my style of skating well.

“My free programme is to ‘Riverdance’. Obviously, this is a very well-known piece of music which many people enjoy. I have always wanted to do a programme with an Irish theme so I am glad to be doing so this season.”

Beyond the Olympic qualifier, Stakelum is looking to a more normal season ahead and breaking new ground in terms of his own skating.

“My goals for the season are to enjoy every event I get the opportunity to compete in after such a long time with no competitions. I would also like to show the improvements I have made and hopefully score some personal bests.”

Stakelum will be competing in Germany against athletes from 25 other countries to secure one of the seven remaining places in the men’s event at the Beijing Olympics.

Eight Figure Skaters For 2021/2022 National Team

The Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have selected eight figure skaters to the ISAI National Team for the 2021/2022 season.

The following ISAI members have been chosen to represent Ireland on the international stage at International Skating Union (ISU) events:

Senior Men – Sam McAllister

Senior Men – Conor Stakelum

Junior Ladies – Adare Condon

Junior Ladies – Dracy Condon

Junior Ladies – Robyn Foster

Junior Ladies – Elizabeth Golding

Junior Ladies – Sophia Tkacheva

Junior Men – Dillon Judge

Sam McAllister is the 2019 and 2020 Senior National champion. From Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, he is coached by Margaret O’Neill in Nottingham and Sheffield, England. This will be his sixth season as a National Team member.

“My goals for this season are to finally show my new programmes at an ISU event and get back to safely competing,” McAllister said.

Conor Stakelum is a five-time Senior National champion. A native of Dublin, he trains in Dundee, Scotland with Simon and Debi Briggs. He represented Ireland at three consecutive European Championships (2018-2020).

“My goal for this season is to enjoy the opportunity to get back out there and compete and to show the improvements I have made with the extra time to train this past year,” Stakelum said.

Adare Condon placed fourth in the Junior Ladies event at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She trains under Megan Doyle and Tracy Doyle in Elmsford, New York. This is her second season as a member of the Irish National team.

“After a year of being fortunate to continue my training but not competing, my goals for this season are to be able to travel and successfully compete internationally for Ireland,” Adare said. “I plan on including a lot of creative choreography and triple jumps and combinations into my new programmes.”

Dracy Condon is the Junior Ladies bronze medallist at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She practices alongside her sister in New York City and is also named for a second season as a member of the Irish National team.

“My goals for this upcoming season are to continue to train hard and improve upon all facets of my skating and make it to the podium as much as possible,” Dracy said. “I want to skate faster, with more strength, and to improve upon my presence on the ice. I’m looking forward to performing well to the new music (excerpts from the Phantom of the Opera) I’ve selected for this upcoming season.”

Robyn Foster trains in Coventry, England under Marina Serova and this will be her second season on the Irish National team.

“I want to become a well rounded skater,” Foster said. “I want to work on the consistency of my triples and keep enjoying my training.”

Elizabeth Golding finished second in the Junior Ladies event at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She divides her training time between Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Moscow, Russia. In 2019, she represented Ireland at ISU Junior Grand Prix events in Latvia and Italy.

Sophia Tkacheva is the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships Junior Ladies champion. From Gorey, County Wexford, she trains on ice in Northern Ireland and Minsk, Belarus. This is her third season on the ISAI National Team.

“In this season, I hope to achieve consistency in my triple jumps and improve my other elements,” Tkacheva said. “I’m looking forward to having a new free programme and I do hope that nothing will get in the way of my training and competitions this season!”

Dillon Judge won the Junior Men’s national title at the Irish Figure Skating Championships in 2020. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, he trains in Sheffield, England.

You can learn more about our national team members here.

Bright Spots For Irish Ice Skating Amidst 2020 Challenges

Despite the past twelve months presenting major obstacles for our association and members, 2020 has not been without its highlights for Irish ice skating.

January was a hectic month with the conclusion of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s seasonal Emerald Skate lessons, a test session and the annual Winter Challenge. Internationally, Conor Stakelum represented Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria, while Ryan and Sean McAnuff flew the flag at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater from Ireland to participate at the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Bormio, Italy.

In February, Tara Donoghue continued to make history for Irish ice skating. At the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, she placed 11th and 18th in the mass start and 3000 metres races respectively, the highest placements ever for an Irish skater at an ISU Championships. The same month saw the Irish National Figure Skating Championships held at Lee Valley, London where five titles were decided. While it turned out to be one of the final domestic events on the Irish sporting calendar to take place before an initial lockdown in March, the effects of the pandemic were already being felt with the shipment of the championships medals from China being delayed.

Tara Donoghue was the recipient of an ISU Development Programme Junior Scholarship in May becoming only the second Irish athlete ever to be awarded.

Odhrán Allen and Clara Peters were welcome additions to the ISAI Board of Directors in July. Later in the month, the ISAI announced its largest ever national team for figure skating and speed skating.

With a slew of events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, it was October before Elizabeth Golding and Sophia Tkacheva became the first national team members to compete internationally when they took part in the Budapest Trophy in Budapest, Hungary.

In November, Golding was back in Budapest for the Santa Claus Cup where she finished fourth.

The ISAI’s Annual General Meeting went online in December with members virtually attending via Zoom.

2021 looks like it will be challenging both domestically and internationally for the foreseeable future with the ISAI’s Emerald Skate lessons for the 2020/2021 winter season and the ISU European Figure Skating Championships next month, for which Sam McAllister had been selected, already cancelled. The ISAI will continue to prioritise the health and safety of its members as we look forward to the day normal activities can be resumed.

 

Eight Figure Skaters Named To 2020/2021 ISAI National Team

The Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have selected eight figure skaters to the ISAI National Team for the 2020/2021 season.

The following ISAI members have been chosen to represent Ireland on the international stage at International Skating Union (ISU) events:

Senior Men – Sam McAllister

Senior Men – Conor Stakelum

Junior Ladies – Adare Condon

Junior Ladies – Dracy Condon

Junior Ladies – Robyn Foster

Junior Ladies – Elizabeth Golding

Junior Ladies – Sophia Tkacheva

Junior Men – Dillon Judge

Sam McAllister retained his Senior National title in February this year. From Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, he is coached by Margaret O’Neill in Nottingham and Sheffield, England. This will be his fifth season as a National Team member.

Conor Stakelum is a five-time Senior National champion. A native of Dublin, he trains in Dundee, Scotland with Simon and Debi Briggs. He finished 34th at this year’s European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria.

Adare Condon placed fourth in the Junior Ladies event at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She trains under Megan Doyle and Tracy Doyle in Elmsford, New York. This is her first season as a member of the Irish National team.

Dracy Condon is the Junior Ladies bronze medallist at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She practices alongside her sister in New York City and is also a debut member of the Irish National team.

Robyn Foster competed at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships in February for the first time, but had to withdraw due to injury after the short programme. She trains in Coventry, England under Marina Serova and this will be her first season skating for Ireland.

Elizabeth Golding finished second in the Junior Ladies event at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She divides her training time between Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Moscow, Russia. In 2019, she represented Ireland at ISU Junior Grand Prix events in Latvia and Italy.

Sophia Tkacheva is the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships Junior Ladies champion. From Gorey, County Wexford, she trains on ice in Northern Ireland and Minsk, Belarus. This is her second season on the ISAI National Team.

Dillon Judge won his first Junior Men’s national title at the Irish Figure Skating Championships in February. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, he trains in Sheffield, England.

You can learn more about our national team members here.

Five Titles Decided At Irish Figure Skating Championships

The 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships concluded earlier today at the Lee Valley Ice Centre in London with titles up for grabs in five different categories over the course of the two days of competition.

Sam McAllister retained the Senior Men’s title. The Ballymoney, County Antrim skater had a shaky start in the short programme where he fell on a double Lutz-triple toe loop combination and doubled a planned triple flip, but he rallied back with a double Axel and two Level 4 spins to score 41.27 points. In contrast to the short, McAllister opened his free skating with a clean triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and went on to land a triple flip and a second triple Lutz. He earned a free score of 101.41 to give him a total of 142.68 for the gold medal.

Five-time national champion Conor Stakelum was in the lead following the short, but subsequently withdrew before the free due to illness.

There were a record number entries in the Junior Ladies category this year and Sophia Tkacheva emerged as the winner. The Gorey, County Wexford native attempted a double Axel, a double flip-double toe loop combination and a double loop in the short to earn 28.02 which put her in a close third overnight. In the free, Tkacheva opened with two jump combinations and also attempted a triple Salchow during her routine in which she amassed a score of 55.85. She finished first in the free and overall with a total of 83.87 points.

Defending champion Elizabeth Golding was leading after the short and was narrowly beaten for the title. She came second in the free to take the silver medal with a total of 83.56. In her Irish Championships debut, Dracy Condon picked up bronze as she scored 80.19 points overall.

After winning the Advanced Novice title at last year’s Irish Championships, Dillon Judge took his first Junior Men’s title with a total of 80.68 points.

On the first day of competition, Laura Hegarty won the Intermediate Novice Ladies title with a total score of 21.96.

The day before her sister became Junior Ladies champions Justina Tkacheva was the winner of the Basic Novice Ladies event with an overall score of 18.38.

Full detailed results for the 2019 Irish Figure Skating Championships are available here.

Conor Stakelum 34th At Europeans

Conor Stakelum (26) competed this afternoon in the short programme men’s event at the ISU (International Skating Union) European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria where he placed 34th.

Stakelum skated 16th out of the 35 competitors and began his programme to “Nightshade” by The Lumineers with an attempted triple loop and followed it with a triple toe loop-triple toe loop jump combination which unfortunately resulted in a fall. However, he steadied himself as the routine progressed and his final four elements all received a positive grade of execution from the judging panel. He was awarded a score of 48.28.

As only the top 24 skaters advance to tomorrow’s free skating, the five-time senior champion has concluded his third successive participation at the European Championships today.

“I’m disappointed, but these things happen,” Stakelum said. “I’m going to go home and work on putting more difficult elements into my programmes.”

 

Conor Stakelum Skates For Ireland At European Figure Skating Championships

Conor Stakelum (26) competes at the ISU (International Skating Union) European Figure Skating Championships this week in Graz, Austria (22-26 January). This is the five-time Irish champion’s third consecutive participation at the event following his debut two years ago in Moscow, Russia where he became the first Irish male figure skater to compete in the history of the championships since they began in 1891.

Stakelum will first take part in the short programme which will be held on the morning of Wednesday, 22 January from 11:30am local time (10:30am Irish time). The day prior to the competition a draw will be held to determine his starting order of the 35 men entered. He will perform seven required elements and if his scores place him in the top 24 skaters he will advance to the free skating on Thursday, 23 January.

“I am proud to be representing Ireland at Europeans again,” Stakelum said. “I am looking forward to building on my previous two championship experiences this week in Graz.”

You will be able to follow Stakelum’s progress in Graz live on the ISU YouTube channel, the competition event page and on social media using the #EuroFigure and #FigureSkating hashtags.

The European Figure Skating Championships are being held in Graz for the first time ever, but Austria has hosted on 11 previous occasions. Stakelum will be one of 165 skaters from 33 countries who will participate in the event. Skaters have had to obtain a minimum total technical score in the short programme and free skating in an ISU competition in order to compete at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships.

Irish Figure And Short Track Teams Selected For 2020 Europeans

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has selected the skaters who will represent Ireland at the 2020 European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria (20-26 January) and the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary (24-26 January).

Conor Stakelum will compete in the men’s singles category at the European Figure Skating Championships alongside the cream of European skating talent. In order to qualify for the championships, each competitor had to obtain a set of minimum technical scores at International Skating Union (ISU) international competitions during the previous and/or current seasons.

This is the third consecutive year that the Dundee-based athlete will make an appearance at the European Championships. In January 2018, he became the first Irish male skater to participate in the prestigious championships which were first held in 1891.

“I am very happy to have been selected for my third European Championships and I hope to build on my experience from the previous two championships in Austria,” Stakelum said.

Ryan and Sean McAnuff will also be flying the flag for Ireland later on the same week at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Hungary. The brothers were the first Irish speed skaters to compete internationally. At the last edition of Europeans in Dordrecht, Netherlands, two spots for Ireland were secured for the second consecutive year. Ryan is currently a medical student at the University of Limerick, while Sean is based in Canada.

“I am extremely excited to be representing Ireland alongside my brother at another European Championships,” Ryan said. “I can’t wait to take on some of the top skaters in the world!”

“This season I have been working a lot on making the most out of each race, each competition and each practice I do,” Sean said. “I have been trying out new strategies and working on and improving my technique a lot. I am really looking forward to applying all these lessons I have learned at the European Championships in January.”