World Skating Championships | Anna Shcherbakova wins gold

(Paris) Sacred world champion at the age of sixteen from her first participation on Friday in Stockholm, the young Russian Anna Shcherbakova is one of the incarnations of the “quad” generation which is coming onto the international scene, one year before the Olympics-2022.

Already in the lead after the short program, Shcherbakova climbed to the top of a 100% Russian podium, with a total of 233.17 points, ahead of the returning Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (220.46) and Alexandra Trusova (217.20 ), also sixteen and – precisely – author of a crazy comeback with quadruple jumps.

“It was really a fight, says the young world champion, trained by the severe Eteri Tutberidze. From the first element, it didn’t go the way I wanted it to, and after, on each element, I said to myself: “I have to try to do better and not lose points”. ”

On the Swedish ice Friday night, Shcherbakova’s only quadruple jump attempt, a free skate entry flip, ended in a crash. The one who will celebrate her 17th birthday on Sunday, however, held firm afterwards. And, in spite of everything, she is one of the faces of this new generation of still adolescent skaters who tackle the “quads” for a long time remained uncleared ground.

The most striking example, however, is Trusova.

Trusova dares five quads

Disappointing twelfth after the short program, nearly fifteen points from the provisional podium, it is with “quads” in series that she embarked on a dizzying rise. The Russian spinning top dared five (!), Including two in combination. But she could not avoid two falls and a demoted jump.

The new student of Evgeni Plushenko was nevertheless rewarded for her audacity with the best score in the free skate, with 152.38 points.

And don’t count on her to take a less risky approach in the future. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to try less to skate more cleanly? “I came here with this list and there was no question of removing even one. Under any circumstances ! », Says Trusova.

It is under his impetus that the race for “quads” has suddenly come alive since 2018.

Before that, only the Japanese Miki Ando, ​​more than fifteen years earlier, had signed a quadruple jump in international competition (a Salchow, in the final of the 2002 Junior Grand Prix).

The French Surya Bonaly, she tackled it first – in vain – in the 1990s.

Since Trusova and her first successful “quad” at the Junior Worlds in March 2018, at only thirteen, it’s the snowball effect.

Two years ago, at the Worlds in Saitama, Japan, Kazakhe Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first skater to land a quadruple jump in senior international competition (a Salchow).

Last winter, Trusova, who masters four different, and Scherbakova were the first to succeed in European Championships.

Tuktamysheva’s Secret Boot

And the young Japanese Rika Kihira (18 years old, 7e), even if it ultimately did not tackle it on Friday night, armed itself with a quadruple Salchow in this pre-Olympic winter.

Behind, things are already growing: the Russian juniors, Kamila Valieva and Maiia Khromykh in particular, born in 2006 and still too young for the big leagues, already have some in their arsenal. And they will be eligible for the Beijing Games next winter, which promises a fierce fight for Olympic tickets between Russian “quad girls”.

At 24, Tuktamysheva does not have these assets. But Alexei Mishin’s protégé has her secret boot: the Triple Axel, the most complex triple rotation, which actually requires three and a half turns in the air, and which they are rare to master.

His two successes on Friday night saw him back on the world podium six years after his only victorious appearance at the time. Despite falling on another triple jump.

“After I fell, I thought it was over. So when I saw my score, I was overwhelmed by emotion, ”admits Tuktamysheva.

During the day, the Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, European champions 2020, dominated the rhythmic dance in front of two American duets.

Verdict Saturday afternoon in the duel at the top between Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen.

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