Thirteen-year-old Alexandra Trusova of Russia opened a new era in Ladies figure skating when landing two quadruple jumps – a Salchow and a toeloop - in her Free Skating at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2018. The young skater not only is the first Lady to land a quad toeloop but also the first one to perform two quadruples in one program. More than 15 years ago, Japan’s Miki Ando became the first and until now only female skater to have completed successfully a quadruple jump, a Salchow, in competition at the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December 2002.
It is somehow hard to believe that such a delicate young girl like Alexandra Trusova can produce four-revolution jumps, something that by far not all men can to. But she does it and makes it even look easy. “I just wanted to skate clean and show everything what I can do and that’s what happened. I was excited when the quads worked. But I knew that I still have two difficult combinations to come (Lutz-loop and flip-loop), the whole program was still ahead, therefore I pulled myself together and did what I had to do,” Alexandra shared.
Landing a quad in competition was her big goal since the beginning of the season and it was a long process to get there. “I wanted to learn quads, because I want to do what nobody else does,” the 13-year-old stated. “I started first learning the triple Axel. I tried it for the first time a while ago, when I was ten years old and with another coach. But the Axel didn’t work. Then I switched to Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze. I skated for half a year and we tried again the triple Axel. It wasn’t going well. Then we decided to try the quad Salchow. I did it April last year (2017). The quad toe I started to learn after the (Junior) Grand Prix Final in December,” the teenager explained. Doing the second quad was already easier, she felt.
“A lot depends on the athlete. She (Trusova) has very good jumps, she is physically very well prepared, she is a very strong girl – physically and mentally,” coach and choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz, who works alongside Eteri Tutberidze and Sergei Dudakov with Trusova, said. “It wasn’t like we told her – ‘go and do a quad’. There should be an adequate preparation. At first we did triples, increased the height. Then we worked a lot with the harness and with padded pants so that there are no injuries. It might not seem that long to someone, but we’ve worked for half a year or a bit less on it. We did not rush it,” Gleikhengauz continued.
He pointed out how important it is that the athlete herself wanted to do the quads and that she is not afraid of trying them. “It is a risk for injury when the athlete is afraid of it. With her (Trusova) it is the opposite, you need to control it and let her not do more than necessary,” Gleikhengauz noted.
“Obviously, not every girl is capable of doing a quad, like not every boy is capable of doing quads and not every dancer is capable of perfectly executing the elements. A lot depends on the talent of the athlete anyway. But a lot also depends on the coaches as well – if there is the right technique, the right approach, right warm up and cool down, work with doctors – when all this comes together the right way, then you lower the risk of injury and the athlete is in top shape, then he can get close to his best, to his abilities.”
Possibly Alexandra Trusova has opened the door for others to follow in her footsteps. It didn’t happen after Ando did the first quad, but maybe the times have changed if you look at the evolution of quadruple jumps in Men’s skating. In 2011, Brandon Mroz (USA) landed the first quadruple Lutz, and at the Olympic Winter Games five skaters included a quad Lutz in at least one of their programs with four of them landing at least one cleanly and other skaters have done it as well.
“Actually figure skating is moving forward very fast,” Gleikhengauz said. “Many spectators and other people are surprised that a girl does two quads, but we are very happy, because we’ve worked on it a lot. At the same time, five years ago nobody would have said that Nathan Chen does six quads (in one program), that it is possible someone does six quads. And not every guy can do it. A lot depends on the individual athlete and his abilities.”
By the way, the next quad Alexandra wants to learn is the Lutz.
???? This amazing girl @trusova.sasha in the gala for #WorldJFigure ☄️ #FigureSkating Alexandra Trusova of Russia performs in the Gala Exhibition during the World Junior Figure Skating Championships at Arena Armeec on March 11, 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. (Photo by Joosep Martinson (@jmfotoz) - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)