Alexander Zhulin: “Trusova is an absolute athlete. She reminds me of Yagudin”
Alexander Zhulin told about the reasons why girls lose quadruple jumps by the age of 18, compared Alexandra Trusova with Alexei Yagudin and attitude towards Russian athletes abroad.
by sportrbc.ru dd. 18th November 2020
Eteri Tutberidze’s student Sofia Akatieva, at the age of 13, was the first in history to cleanly perform two quadruple jumps and a triple axel in one program. After her performance, you noted that it is very difficult for girls to keep ultra-c until the conditional 19 years old. Tell me, what is the basis for such an opinion?
Alexander Zhulin: And who managed to keep?
Liza Tuktamysheva not only kept, but also added a quadruple toe loop.
Alexander Zhulin: Liza – yes. But so far she tried the quad at competitions only once and it did not work out. So for today it is very difficult to say. 19 years is already such an age … Before 17 is another case, here I can still agree that everything can be kept till this age. After it’s already difficult. But perhaps everything will come to this.
Maybe the age will also be raised. It’ll be easier with a competition.
Alexander Zhulin: By the way, yes. Or they will come up with something else. But so far, as we can see, all who jump quadruples are 15-16-year-old girls. Maximum – 17.
Rika Kihira is actively complicate her programs, she’s also over 17.
Alexander Zhulin: It seems to me, she will definitely not “survive” till the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
Why? She is short, stocky – according to anthropometry, an ideal jumper.
Alexander Zhulin: That’s right, but she is already turning from a child into a young girl, this is already more difficult. Whoever lasts longer in this, let’s say, not puberty age, will succeed.
On the other hand, we see the opposite examples. For example Alexandra Trusova has grown a lot over the past year, but it seems that everything is alright with her quads.
Alexander Zhulin: Sasha Trusova is just fantastic. If she keeps all this until the Olympics … I won’t say that she will be the main favorite, but one of the main favorites to win for sure. She is very hard working and not used to giving up, so if it continues like that – she is a very serious competitor for everyone.
At the same time, Sasha is the opposite of the typical mass media’s image of slender girls doing ultra-c due to their fast rotation and small weight.
Alexander Zhulin: That is why she is called a phenomenon. She has her own story – she is a wonderful athlete who does many jumps, adding a lot of physical strength to them. Due to this, she can compensate some “dips” on the element, if they happen. Yagudin was the same.
He could at some moments not get into the take off, fall out of the axis, but save it due to his strength, character, great desire. He knew how to focus when it was needed most. Including due to this, he became an Olympic champion.
Sasha reminds me of Yagudin – in his approach to sports, even in physique. She is an absolute athlete. Maybe if she removes this triple lutz – triple loop combination, which she fails from program to program, and replaces it with a clean triple lutz – double loop or a triple axel, then she can completely exclude falls.
But here’s the thing. She falls not because she skates poorly, but because she takes very great risks. This is her strong point, trump card, philosophy. Therefore, here Sasha and her coaches know better what she needs. Perhaps it will be necessary to put five quads into the program, and even if she falls from one of them, no one will get closer to her. She works on the limit of her capabilities, and realizing that she, perhaps, lacks a little in the second mark, she takes it with the technique. And so far she is very good at it.
Regarding the technique, recently for some reason Sasha’s started to have problems with the edge on the triple flip – even the judges began to put marks in the protocols. Why might this be happening?
Alexander Zhulin: This is a difficult technical question. Surely Evgeni Plushenko knows about this problem and they will solve it. But I don’t see any technical mistakes, and I cannot say that her technique has become worse due to the fact that, it seems to me, the absolutely outstanding coach Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze taught her everything. And the outstanding athlete [Plushenko] continued. They know all the exercises, how to lead to the jumps. So it would be foolish to expect that Sasha’s technique will deteriorate after the transfer.
But in general, I will say this: if you have already memorized the outside edge on the flip, it is quite difficult to fix it. The same situation was with Zhenya Medvedeva and her lutz. Many people worked with her on the edge. This is a whole technical story that doesn’t come easily.
It seems that it hasn’t worked out With Zhenya yet.
Alexander Zhulin: You see, it can work in training. But, unfortunately, at the competitions, when you just have to make this element no matter what, old flaws come out. It’s not easy to change. The old technique comes back…
Even in ice dance it is very difficult to change the technique of, let’s say, a counter. And here we talk about jump.
Well, you just cry the blues. I have heard so many stories how it’s hard for singles and pair skaters to do step sequences that dancers perform easily.
Alexander Zhulin: And we just have nothing else to do (laughs). We only work on steps, spins and lifts. Therefore, sometimes ice dancers perform step sequences and spins better than pair skaters, but we do not do any jumps or throws.
And you don’t need all this. Ice dance is very beautiful.
Alexander Zhulin: So that’s why it’s beautiful (laughs). Just to each his own. If the jumps are removed from the pair skating and they only deal with spins and step sequnces, over time their skills will also grow.
I remember you were quite pessimistic about the prospect of holding the World and European Championships this season. As far as I understand, nothing has changed?
Alexander Zhulin: It seems to me that since the Four Continents Championships has been canceled, then 99% that the European championship will be also canceled. But as for the Worlds, there is a very serious question in terms of financial losses for both ISU and television. I think they will do everything possible and impossible for the Worlds to take place. But the question is where it will be hold and what to do with border crossing.
If the period of the pandemic at that time is serious, and the number of cases is huge, then I do not exclude any scenarios. Let’s imagine that the competition will take place in Sweden as planned. In this case, it may happen that Americans, Canadians, Japanese and others won’t come. Then it is already the prerogative of ISU – to determine whether it is necessary to hold the World Championships without leading countries. Given such a situation, I do not exclude that it will also be canceled. But again, they will fight for this event.
We are all depend on the coronavirus now. How long it will last, no one knows. Every day brings something new. In this regard, it is very difficult to motivate athletes – still they read the press, surf the Internet.
If other leading countries do not go to the World Championships, the situation will be approximately the same as with the European Championship: the complete superiority of our skaters. Do you think the same European Championships, where the Russians win all the gold, is not profitable?
Alexander Zhulin: I think that with a huge “love” for Russians, it may be easier to cancel it than to watch Trusova, Shcherbakova, Vika and Nikita and others. Papadakis and Cizeron have already announced that they will not go to the European Championships.
Maybe they afraid?
Alexander Zhulin: Well no. Maybe they are tired or can’t find motivation. After all, they have also been skating for a long time. Well it’s not my business – chips fall where they may. We still have the Grand Prix stage in Moscow, after which we will prepare for the Russian Nationals. And then – God blesses, something will change.