Eteri Tutberidze: “Sometimes there are places where we hide some jumps that can be questionable. In training, we have cameras, and we also work with the video replay system, just like the judges.”

Posted on 2022-12-04 • No comments yet


Eteri Tutberidze about jumps.


source: Channel One, text version

Eteri Tutberidze: Ultra-C jumps should have an almost perfect combination of speed, jump height, twisting – rotation speed in the air, well and landing – speed on a landing.

You must attempt to perform the jump exactly as you trained it in competitions. When an athlete is on adrenaline, gains a little more speed, or, on the contrary, starts skating more slowly, this, most likely, is already a guarantee of a mistake.

It happens when an athlete begins to swing when they are tired. They don’t have enough momentum because they are tired and didn’t gain the necessary speed. This is all about preparation; you need to skate it.

And sometimes an athlete does not skate for a variety of reasons—perhaps they are ill, or they are disobedient in training. Suppose they skate, try very hard, but do not gain the required speed. What are they trying to do? They are trying to swing themselves a little and, due to this, create the inertia of the jump. This is not always good.

Firstly, it may not always be the right edge in the end, or an unclear edge may appear. In addition, what they swung on takeoff, they will get on landing. And we see athletes who skate like this and try to shake themselves up a little.

How do they hide bad jumps, and how can judges figure it out?

Eteri Tutberidze: Of course, the technical panel does not have the opportunity to come closer and see the trail, so they watch video replays. There are some subtleties; sometimes there are places where we hide some jumps that can be questionable.

But the technical team is competent sometimes, and it is difficult to cope because they see a blade that is shifted and it glares during a takeoff. So during the shifting of the edge, you can see a glare. If the technical panel is not sure, they leave it for the judges to decide.

There are also three people on the technical panel: a technical specialist, a controller, and an assistant to a technical specialist. Jumps are called by a technical specialist. If a controller has no objections, they are silent. If a technical specialist has objections during the program, they say “review.” And the junp lights up red. After the program, they review with element.

Judges are not allowed and cannot technically give a GOE until the element is released by the technical panel. They look, and the technician says, “I see the wrong edge.” Controller says, “I do not agree.” And only then does the technical assistant enter, who does not have the right to say “I abstained,” but is obliged to take sides. Therefore, there are three people on the technical panel.

Why some people find difficult jumps easier than others, and why 5 quads don’t always beat 2.

Eteri Tutberidze: Sometimes the difficulty with the edge is anatomical. Some athletes have clubfoot, which is an X in the legs. If there are o-shaped athletes, then the outside edges are easier for them, and it’s more difficult to hold the inside edge. They can do it, but this is not entirely comfortable, and at the time of competition, fatigue or adrenaline may prevent them from coping.

Therefore, sometimes at some competitions, we see that the wrong edge appears or disappears. Of course, how they kept it at that time, whether they coped with it, or whether they controlled it, is highly individual.There are athletes who jump all competently and control the edges. Yes, of course, there are athletes with perfect legs, but this is less common; we all have some peculiarities.

I would slightly increase the base value of quadruple jumps.

But the ISU deliberately lowered the value of quadruple jumps so that the athletes would not chase complexity and the skating would be clean. Because there is an audience, and everyone wants to see the integrity, not fell-got up, fell-got up. Injuries are also a possibility. Therefore, they lowered the value of the jumps.

Sometimes it seems that a person jumped-jumped-jumped, and lost to an athlete who skated with two or three quads. Because they do it better and receive bonuses for each jump, whereas the other athlete receives reductions and all of their quads are reset to triples.

And the spectators do not understand how that happened. An athlete jumped and jumped, and the second one came, waved their hand, but they waved beautifully, created an image, and kept it throughout the entire program, and the other athlete did not succeed with this, because they were chasing jumps.

We have left-footed athletes and right-footed athletes. Despite the fact that loop, flip, and lutz are senior jumps and are more difficult, these jumps are easier for some.Because they are from their pushing leg—the right one. For example, Alina Zagitova, Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova are right-footed athletes. Kamila Valieva, Sofia Akatieva are left-footed athletes; the axel, salchow, and toe loop are easier for them.

We still have to learn all the jumps. It’s just that those jumps that are easier have both stability and reliability; it takes even less time to warm up this jump. And under some circumstances, when an athlete feels unwell or there is some kind of injury, we can still be sure of their jumps.

Why is Zagitova’s famous combination (3Lz-3Lo) so difficult?

Eteri Tutberidze: There is such a thing as maintaining the rhythm of jumps. There was an entry—steps or something—one-two-three-four, arc, takeoff—landing, takeoff—landing. If an athlete goes into a combination with a loop, there can be no mistake at all. The athlete lands on the same foot and must already push off from the same foot.

If the toe loop still allows some kind of mistake—the athlete can swing, return to the right track, and push off—then the loop does not allow mistakes. Loop combinations are high-risk elements.

Over the toe loop, this combination has slightly lost its value.But the judges still perfectly understand that it is more difficult, that it is more risky, and that if an athlete, especially in a short program, jumps such a combination, then an athlete can do these jumps much better.

In modern figure skating, there are two judging teams: a technical panel that determines the correctness of the takeoffs and the cleanliness of the landings. And already, on the basis of the verdict made by the technical panel, the judges give GOE pluses and minuses. The presence of speed before the jump, maybe even some difficult steps—a jump performed in the rhythm of these steps without losing speed, the position in the air is also taken into account; and, of course, the landing position and the presence of this speed. If an athlete performs a jump or combination without losing speed, this is doubly valuable. All this should be reflected in these scores.

And if there was mistakes – too. Mistakes are different; each has its own downgrades. There is a double-three turn, a step-out; this is from minus two and further, depending on how big this mistake was. If it was a hand down and in slow motion or freeze frame, the technical panel sees that the center of gravity was transferred to this hand, and if you remove it, then this is a fall. And it seems that there was no fall, but a minus 1 point appears as a deduction.

The judges’ team looks at the athlete as a whole: how beautifully they entered the jump, their hands, their position in the air. The technical panel only looks at the feet. They are interested in takeoff and landing—how clean it was—but not in position in the air; they have other tasks.

However, there is such a thing as an exclamation point on the flip and lutz.This is when the technical panel is not sure about the cleanliness of the edge. And then each of the judges has the right to watch it in slow motion and make a decision. Therefore, sometimes we see a discrepancy in the GOE: someone gives -2, and someone gives +2.

We have cameras, and we also work with the video replay system, just like the judges. We film, show the athlete. Because very often, your own feelings diverge from what actually happens. When you just tell an athlete, there is a little distrust because they feel that they have fully rotated the jump and you say, “No, there was a half-turn underrotation,” it offends him. And if they see it already on the video replay, then they can’t argue.

When we are preparing for the competitions, we have a six-minute warm-up and a recording of the performance itself. I write the screening itself; I lay it out the way it happens at the competitions when they receive their printouts. And we’re watching it all on video.


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