Yukari Nakano: ladies’ quads are designed for the figure of a little girl, thin as a string
Former Japanese figure skater Yukari Nakano shared her opinion on the quad jumps of Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova and on the triple axels of Alena Kostornaia and Rika Kihira.
Yukari Nakano is a winner of the Asian Games (2007), two-time medalist of the Four Continents Championships (2003, 2006) and a bronze medalist of the Grand Prix Final (2005). She was the third woman in history to land a triple axel at the ISU competitions.
Yukari: I never thought that I would see the situation when to win ladies would need to perform quad jumps. Previously, if a skater mastered triples, a triple-triple combination was considered a logical complication, then a triple axel, but now athletes have appeared who already have several types of quads.
The idea has appeared that, having a quadruple, you can win. And when one athlete managed to do this, others who train at the same rink began to think: “Perhaps I can also do a quad.” It is important to have a good example. It gives the desire to learn new elements.
Of course, this become possible due to comprehensive training, which begins when the skaters are still young. This is especially important for girls – after all, with changes in body parameters, making complex elements becomes more difficult. Before the child grows up, he will have the skills to perform complex jumps.
When I was an athlete, our training outside the ice was simple – we worked on the muscles and practiced ballet. Now, it’s a common practice to work on jumps outside the ice.
When I see female quads, I feel that girls are not performing them at the expense of height, but using “rotation” – the speed of rotation in the air. These are jumps that are designed for the figure of a little girl, when the athlete’s body is as thin as a string.
For these girls, taking into account how their bodies looks now, probably it’s the best time. It is also worth noting that these jumps often look like this: rotation begins immediately after take off or even before it. If we leave aside the question whether this is good or bad, it turns out that the probability of performing four turns increases. But if the judges were strict in assessing such jumps and called such elements under-rotated, the skaters would have to solve this problem somehow.
As for Alena Kostornaia’s triple axel, her jump parameters are very different – height, distance, rotation speed. In my opinion, the reason she performs the triple axel so easily is her natural ability, talent. I was shocked with her speed, which she holds throughout the program. I have never seen such a skater as Alena. She does not lose speed when she enters the jumps, her triple axel is an element that doesn’t interrupt the program. She has something that allows her to defeat her competitors, even if they have quads.
There is also Rika Kihira – her triple axel is a textbook from the technical point of view. The most impressive part is the trajectory. She jumps forward and starts to rotate after she gets into the air. She does not have a very high jump, but she uses distance and does not lose speed, takes off rhythmically. Excellent trajectory and excellent body position in the air.