South Korean ice dance tandem of Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin on Thursday found themselves on the bubble for next year's Winter Olympics on home ice.
The duo scored 55.94 points in their short dance to rank seventh among 18 teams at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. This is the last Olympic qualifying competition, and the top five teams here will each earn a spot for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics for their countries.
The free dance is scheduled for Saturday.
Of the 18 teams in action, two are from Canada and the United States, the two countries that have already secured spots in the Olympics.
In this Associated Press photo, South Korean ice dancers Min Yu-ra (L) and Alexander Gamelin perform their short dance routine during the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Sept. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)
Min and Gamelin came into the competition with a personal best combined score of 151.35 points, fourth-highest among all teams this week.
Gamelin, a US native, was granted South Korean citizenship in July.
Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland of Britain are the leaders after the short dance with 71.79 points. They were the only team to score more than 70 points.
Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed of Japan are in second place with 62.67 points.
Cecilia Torn and Jussiville Partanen of Finland occupy fifth place with 56.32 points.
In pairs, Olympic qualifying hopes for South Koreans Kim Su-yeon and Kim Hyung-tae faded fast, as they ranked dead last in the short program.
In this Associated Press photo, North Korean pairs figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok (L) and Kim Ju-sik perform their short program during the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Sept. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)
With 40.75 points, the siblings ranked 16th among 16 teams. Four tickets to PyeongChang are stake this week.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia are in first with 77.52 points, followed by Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot with 72.99 points. But Russia and Germany have already secured PyeongChang spots through the world championships earlier this year. That means if these two teams finish first and second overall after Friday's free skate, the next four best tandems will earn Olympic tickets.
Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik of North Korea are in good position to qualify for PyeongChang, after finishing their short program in fifth place with 60.19 points.
They represent North Korea's best chances of qualifying for PyeongChang 2018 in any sport.
PyeongChang organizers and South Korean government have called on North Korea to participate in the PyeongChang Games and help diffuse tension on the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)