Every soldier must know his maneuver
As soon as the Russian figure skater Aleksandra Trusova announced her intention to maximize the complexity of her own programs, fans asked the Internet a logical question: “Do her actions mean that five quads are the only chance to win?”. The answer here seems to be obvious: "Yes."
Alexandra already tried this season to make a similar set of jumps in the Grand Prix finals, but there the risk did not justify itself. In the short program, the athlete could not cope with the axel, and out of five four, she did well only three.
The first three starts of the season were unmistakable for the skater: the Onjay Nepela memorial in Bratislava, where Trusova showed record results both in the free program and in the sum of two, the commercial Japan Open in Saitama with four quadruple jumps in the arbitrary and the first stage of the Canadian Grand Prix Kelowna with the next update of his two world records.
But then, when the world was almost sure that the season would definitely pass under the sign of a fearless debutante, Sasha began to lose.
How painfully the girl perceives defeats, we saw at the national championship in Krasnoyarsk, when Trusova wept bitterly in front of the cameras. The program with four quads, of which only one was qualitatively obtained, brought the figure skater only the third final place. Champion of the country Anna Shcherbakova the world champion among juniors lost more than 35 points.
It’s time to think: “Why, in this case, do you need a fifth quadruple? Isn’t it better to direct efforts to cope with fewer jumps? ” However, “less” is not about Trusova. As she herself said after speaking in the Grand Prix finals, successfully rolling out a program that includes five quadruple jumps is an incredibly difficult task. Then she added: “I cannot do otherwise. Risk is about me. Without this risk, I would not have achieved what I have. ”
When a program is so saturated with ultra-complex elements, there is not much space left for creativity and choreography. In this, in fact, advocates of a more aesthetic skating occasionally reproach Trusova, emphasizing that the programs of the 15-year-old skater are jumping, jumping and jumping again. But all these reproaches are hardly fair: everyone takes what he can.
Once, similar claims were made by Evgeni Plushenko. At the 2006 Turin Games, four-time world champion Kurt Browning forged a Russian skater: “Plushenko rides like a carpenter who is building a house. He sets up the frame and planks it with boards, nailing nails here and there. While Johnny Weir and Stefan Lambiel look more like artists painting their houses with a whole palette of colors. ”
Weir at that Olympics was fifth. Lambiel - won silver, losing almost 30 points to a Russian ...
Rampant risk, or sober calculation?
Numerous female quadruple jumps - the story is short. The only exception is Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who taught the four at 22 years old. But exceptions exist in order to emphasize the rules.
The first Russian world champion Maria Butyrskaya, who at one time (and this was more than 20 years ago) tried to perform both the triple axel and the quadruple salchow, also admitted that both of these jumps can be mastered with a sufficiently "childish" body condition.
“Both the axel and the salchis demanded from me perfect physical shape and equally ideal, well-calibrated weight - 47 kilograms,” the skater recalled. “It was worth adding a little bit, everything was instantly messed up, and I couldn’t even get close to these two jumps, while all the rest could jump with two extra pounds and three.”
Regardless of whether Trusova manages to win in Graz, or once again loses the battle with her own quadruple jumps, she has a very real chance this season to add another achievement to world sports history - five completed quads in one program. And this is almost an absolute guarantee of a gold medal in any tournament.
But it’s not a fact that the athlete will have a chance to collect all or almost all the gold of the season in a year, if Sasha even grows a little. From this point of view, the strategy is absolutely justified: you have to take your own, while the situation allows it. Moreover, Trusova is a rare example of a skater who does not feel any fear of the elements of ultra-si and does not take a fall to heart. Anyway, bye.
Should coaches restrain such excitement of their wards at least in order to protect them as much as possible from possible health problems? On the one hand, probably yes: those who are at the forefront of technical complexity are always more likely than others to be injured and to leave the game. On the other hand, the history of sports before Trusova knew many cases where athletes, without hesitation, set the result above possible health problems.
A striking example is the ex-world champion in ice dancing Maxim Shabalin, who in 2008 arrived at the European Championships in Zagreb two weeks after a rather complicated knee operation and won this tournament. Then there was a lot of talk that the risk, in spite of the victory, was completely unjustified, and that speeding up the training would probably turn out to be even more serious problems (which subsequently happened). However, the famous dance coach Rostislav Sinitsyn, who, it would seem, must better understand the severity of the possible consequences, stood up for the skater.
“In our profession, scattering chances is not accepted. Let's say Domnina and Shabalin would have missed this championship. But where is the guarantee that, having missed one, you win the other? And so, no matter what happens in the future, they are already European champions ... ”, the expert admitted.
In the same way, Plushenko always acted in the years of his performances, ending his career as a champion among all skaters in the world, not only in the number of injuries and operations, but also in sports titles.
We can only accept the fact that, leaving the right to take risks, the athlete always bears responsibility for this, even if he is only 15 years old.