Canada’s Roman Sadovsky will take to the ice at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany this week, seeking to earn the country a second Olympic berth in men’s singles.
It’s the last opportunity for countries to earn spots at Beijing 2022. The 22-year-old Sadovsky— who captured Canada’s most recent national title in 2020 — will need to come within the top seven in Oberstdorf to confirm another quota spot.
It will also be Sadovsky’s opportunity to make a statement as the first Canadian national-team member to compete in the men’s discipline in international competition this season — one that will determine whose name, or names, get listed as representing Canada at the Games.
His performance, which begins Thursday just before 7 a.m. ET, will decide whether only one man will get that honour.
To widen the opportunity for himself and his fellow skaters, Sadovsky will go up against a field that includes American Vincent Zhou, the 2019 bronze medallist at both the world championships and Four Continents Championship.
Zhou returns to the place where he made his international senior debut in 2017, where landing among the top skaters will ensure the U.S. sends three men to Beijing.
The American, who came sixth at his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang, will also be chasing redemption of sorts — he ended last season with a shocking miss at the world championships, failing to make the cut in order to compete in the free skate.
Russian skater Mark Kondratiuk, who exploded onto the senior scene last year by earning national bronze, is likewise looking to help his country reach the maximum amount of male singles competitors in Beijing.
And Adam Siao Him Fa — a three-time French national silver medallist — already has his sea legs, coming off a silver at the Lombardia Trophy.
The Frenchman edged out Sadovsky at the Canadian’s last competition, the 2021 World Team Trophy in April, with a trio of quads.
Though the short program saw the Vaughan, Ont., athlete halfway up the standings — against tough competition of Nathan Chen and Yuzuru Hanyu — a rougher free meant a 10th-place individual result, just ahead of teammate Nam Nguyen.
The skaters are returning to a fuller competition schedule this season after last year’s derailment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Canadian national championships, though initially delayed, were eventually cancelled. Instead, the last time Sadovsky found the top of the podium was at the virtual Skate Canada Challenge. Nguyen came second, only five points behind him.
Sadovsky’s 2019-2020 season included his first medal on the Grand Prix circuit, a bronze at the 2019 NHK Trophy (though he has medalled on the junior-level circuit).
He also earned a bronze at the 2019 Finlandia Trophy. Both competitions saw powerhouses — two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and Olympic silver-medallist Shoma Uno — take gold.
Nebelhorn is the third event of the ISU Challenger series, following last week’s Autumn Classic that saw Nguyen withdraw from competition.
Sadovsky’s Grand Prix assignments include Skate Canada and the Rostelecom Cup.
Canada had earned its first berth in men’s singles through the 2021 world championships in Stockholm, where most of the Olympic spots are doled out.
Keegan Messing, who competed at the 2018 Olympics, was selected as the only Canadian man to skate at the event.
Messing, 29, skated to a personal record of 270.26 for a sixth-place finish that was enough to book two conditional spots, with the second based on the caveat that Canada outperforms others at this week’s competition.
Canada has also earned one Olympic spot in women’s singles, two in pairs and three in ice dance.
The men’s short program is scheduled to start Thursday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 a.m. E.T.