The ladies began their Olympic quest at the Nebelhorn Trophy today in Oberstdorf, Germany. There are 33 ladies in the event, with 26 competing for one of six open Olympic slots.
U.S. ladies champion Alissa Czisny, the defending Nebelhorn gold medalist, earned 60.38 points in the short to lead the ladies.
"I came back because I wanted to get out in front of the judges as soon as possible," Czisny said. "I wanted to get into that competition feeling like I had last season."
"I'm keeping my eyes focused on my goal of going to the Olympics," Czisny added. "That's the culmination of every skater's dream. I remember when I saw my first Olympics and watched Nancy Kerrigan and Oksana Baiul. We didn't own a television so we rented one just to watch the Games."
Czisny's program included a triple flip, double Axel and triple Lutz-double toe combination as well as her spectacular spiral and spins for which she received Grades of Execution (GOEs) of 3 from at least one judge foe each spin.
"I saw Stéphane Lambiel got a 3 GOE on his spins yesterday and I wanted to get threes on my spins today," Czisny said. "I really like doing the layback."
Czisny, who at 11th place in the icenetwork.com world rankings is the highest rated lady competing, used music from the motion picture soundtracks of The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro.
"It's fun and flirty and the choreography helps me get into character right at the beginning," Czisny said. "I always like to play a character."
Finland's Kiira Korpi, ranked 16th in the world, was the first of the ladies to skate. And she almost kept that position throughout the day, finishing in second place with 58.34 points.
"I wasn't thrilled to draw first so early in the morning," Korpi said, "but I often train earlier than that and the crowd was great with so many people."
Korpi, skating to "Caravan," completed a triple loop, double Axel and triple Lutz-double toe loop combination.
"This was a good beginning for the season," Korpi stated. "I've had higher scores but a few of my landings weren't perfect. I'm happy just to be here after such a difficult season last year."
"I wanted to have a competition to get ready before Finlandia," Korpi continued. "I only did three events last year because I had so many problems. This year, I'm stronger physically and mentally and enjoying my skating more. I'm not taking anything for granted."