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