Daniel Grassl: Changes in rules will not affect my content
Daniel Grassl told softening the quarantine in Italy, analyzed serious changes in the rules of figure skating, and how they could affect athletes, in particular, Anna Shcherbakova. In addition, Grassl admitted that he was going for an internship in the group of Eteri Tutberidze.
by Elvira Ondar for gazeta.ru dd. 20th May 2020
How are skaters doing in Italy?
Daniel Grassl: It becomes better (laughs). Now we can leave the house without any problems, and on May 25 my skating rink opens, and I will begin ice training again. By the way, in Bergamo rinks opened about two weeks ago. But we have to wait a little longer.
I’ve already started going to the neighboring city of Bolzano for classes with my coach Lorenzo Magriю, we can see each other in person. True, there are limitations: only two people can train in one room at a time, and they must keep a distance of 1 meter.
But slowly everything is back to normal. Now I train in the morning for three hours at home, then I have lessons, and then leave for Bolzano to the coach. In general, everything already resembles a normal life.
Have you already started to think about new programs?
Daniel Grassl: Yes, we are in touch with my choreographer from France, Benoit Richaud. We are considering whether he will be able to come to Italy or we will go to him in Courchevel. There is still no information when the borders will open in Europe, but I hope that within a couple of weeks travel within the EU will be possible.
If the borders are not opened, then we will put programs via video communication. My coach, who also works as a choreographer, is already doing online programs for athletes from other countries. However, he says that it is very difficult.
But we will try to put the program with Richaud this way and see how it will work. In the short program I will have a completely different style. I promise it will be interesting.
Recently, the ISU has made serious changes to the rules of figure skating, so for the season 2020/21 you will prepare taking into account these changes.
Daniel Grassl: Yes, my coach always carefully studies everything and tells me what new rules have appeared, what we need to change, where to work more, so I’ve already studied the innovations quite well.
The most dramatic change, as it seems, is changing the value of two quadruple jumps: the loop has become more expensive by half a point (rose from 10.5 to 11), and the lutz, which has always been considered the most difficult, traumatic and expensive, on the contrary, has fallen in price from 11.5 to 11. As one of the few skaters who performs both of the jumps, what do you think of these changes?
Daniel Grassl: I think that this will not really affect my content, because I always put quadruple lutz and loop into the programs, as well as a flip, and in any case I will continue to do this, since these quads I can do best of all.
In addition, the new rules can be beneficial for me to some extent, because now the loop, which I do quite stably, costs as much as a more risky lutz. And now I’m thinking about inserting a quad loop into a short program more often. Before, I always tried to make lutz there, because it cost a whole point more.
However, I have not started the restoration of jumps on the ice yet. When I return to the rink, my first goal will be to return all my technical elements, and only then we will seriously think about the content.
In Russia, it was actively discussed that skaters who often jump lutz will suffer greatly, since the total value of their programs will now decrease.
Daniel Grassl: Yes, Russians often jump lutz. But first, I’ll clarify: are we talking about boys or girls? Because your girls are also doing quadruple lutz (laughs).
Well, for example, if we talk about Anna Shcherbakova, then in the programs she makes two quadruple lutz and three triple. Now her overall score may drop by a few points.
Daniel Grassl: Yes, Anna often performs lutz, but from the last season she also has a quadruple flip in her arsenal, which now costs no less. With all these changes, it’s actually really interesting to see how points will be distributed next season.
Of the Russian girls, Aleksandra Trusova also jumps quad lutz … True, now in Russia they discuss more not her potential losses on this jump, but whether she can maintain overall stability after the transition from Eteri Tutberidze to Evgeni Plushenko.
Daniel Grassl: Yes, in Italy this transition was also discussed – I think, as in the whole world. I heard that Yegor Rukhin, Veronika Zhilina also left, there were rumors about Adelia Petrosyan.
It seems that a lot of people left the group of Tutberidze, including coach Sergei Rozanov. Actually, I worked with him at the training camp in Courchevel, and I really liked how he coached. I wanted to go on an internship to Tutberidze, also because of him, because he is a very good specialist, but … I do not know exactly what is happening there.
Returning to the losses on the lutz: in general, I think that all skaters will experience a general decrease in the total scores. Including for the reason that many have lutz in their programs, which everyone tried to do before. However, now athletes will be able to focus more on other jumps, so the new season will be more interesting and diverse.
Someone thinks that a quadruple loop is actually more difficult to perform than a lutz, and it unfairly cost less by a point. Do you agree with this?
Daniel Grassl: Loop is a really difficult jump. I know that for many skaters it’s not an easy jump and few people do it. Sometimes it was shown at competitions by Shoma Uno, Nathan Chen, more often Hanyu jumps it … But almost everyone in the world has already started jumping quadruple lutz.
So I think that quad loop is the hardest jump right now. In order to perform it, one must have excellent concentration, think about many things at once: how to accelerate, at what point to sit on your knees … It requires a lot of mental work. And on the lutz I just go and do.
In addition, in the case of loop, the skater must have a very strong body, since at the take off the ice with both legs, and it is important to give yourself great rotation power and competently go into rotation. Few are more comfortable doing a jump from two legs.
But that’s your case.
Daniel Grassl: Yes. My first triple was loop, and among the quads it was the first. So I always loved this jump. Next season I’m going to try a quadruple salchow in the program, but let’s see how the progress on ice goes. In salchow, the main emphasis is on the left foot, and it is more convenient for me to use the right one, so I have better lutz, flip, and rittberger. Ahead is still a lot of work on salchow and toe loop.
According to the new rules, the triple lutz and the triple flip were also equal in value – both are worth 5.3 points, although earlier the lutz immediately gave 5.9. What do you think of that?
Daniel Grassl: In the short program, I always used a combination with a triple lutz, and in the free program I do not have a large number of flips – I prefer lutz. So there will be no big changes in my content.
However, other skaters who are better at flip will be in a better position now, because it is equal in value with lutz. I think they should be happy.
The ISU introduced another interesting rule: now, judges must note a quarter underratation. For this, they even came up with a special mark – “q”. And it was decided that for such a small violation the base value of the jump would not fall. For example, the quadruple would not be counted as a triple. The judges will only need to reduce GOE. Do you like this innovation?
Daniel Grassl: I am very happy that such a decision was made and that now there is a separate “q” mark for a quarter underrotation. Last season many of my jumps coused doubts among the judges and were thorough review in slow motion. The technical team hesitated, deciding whether the jump was completely clean or not, and usually it all ended up with me losing a lot of points, because some underrotations were always found.
Now, I am very pleased that if the jump is a bit doubtful, the judge can put a “q” mark, that is, indicate that it was only slightly underrotated, and the value of the whole element will not fall so much.
Also, in the new rules, the ISU clearly defined the punishment for another type of mistake – the so-called prerotation, when the skater cheats a little and begins to make the first turn before he has completely taken off the ice. Now for this they will take from one to three points in the GOE scale.
Daniel Grassl: Unfortunately, the judges do not have such a good slow motion to clearly see if the skater started rotation staying partially on the ice. This can be precisely determined only if you are preparing for the jump slowly – for example, if you have a long entry on a quad. If an athlete gains high speed for a jump and does everything very quickly, then it is really difficult to determine prerotation. But, fortunately, I do not have such problems in technique.
What do you think, will all the skaters have time to adapt to the new rules and how should they prepare for the next season, given that many are still in quarantine?
Daniel Grassl: I assume that in the 2020/21 season the competition will begin later than usual due to the whole situation with the coronavirus. The organizers of the senior Grand Prix series still have to notify if they are going to hold this competition. I don’t know if they will do it.
So, I think I will have enough time to restore my jumps and start in competitions with my best content. However, if the competition resumes at the usual time, then I will have to take a little risk. I plan to start with one quadruple in the short program and two in the free program, and then add quads during the season.
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