Pyeongchang 2018

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Move over for Trusova: Zagitova faces new rival

5Alina Zagitova captured hearts and Olympic gold alike in PyeongChang.

But despite such a beguiling performance at the age of 15, the Russian already has a new rival to contend with.

Zagitova can add a first ever senior World Championship title in Milan this week, yet a new prodigy is already being talked about in hushed tones.

Will the Olympic champion’s era of dominance be over before it has even begun?

A new era

At just 13, Alexandra Trusova became the first female skater to land two quadruple jumps – a Salchow and a toeloop – in her free skate when she was crowned ISU World Junior champion earlier this month.

Both were cleanly executed to help her to the highest technical component score in ladies’ figure skating history.

Trusova became the first woman to master a quad toeloop and also the first one to display TWO quads in ONE program.

A jaw-dropping performance that made the figure skating world sit up and take notice.

To put it in perspective, Japan’s Miki Ando had been the first and only skater until now to successfully perform a quadruple jump in competition – a Salchow, at the Junior Grand Prix in December 2002.

Trusova is not here to take part, she is here to take over.

Steely nerves

“I am very happy to have won, but I’m even happier to have landed the two quads. I prepared for that and I did it,” Trusova said after her golden performance.

“After I landed the quads, I was very happy, but I still had the rest of the program to do. There were still three difficult combinations to come and I had to pull myself together.”

Alexandra wore special pants when learning quads to avoid injuries.

Standing at 1.48 metres, the protégée admits, jumping is her favourite thing about figure skating.

“If you train to jump every day, you’ll be able to do it. You just have to do it and not be afraid,” Trusova explained.

“I simply wanted to be able to do it and was never afraid of trying. If one really wants something, it’s possible to achieve it.”

One happy family?

Trusova started her sport at age 3 before moving to Moscow and joining the team of Eteri Tutberidze in 2016.

The renowned coach is training Zagitova and PyeongChang’s silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva as well.

Eteri Tutberidze

The Crystal Rink in Russia’s capital produces a seemingly limitless supply of talent.

Tutberidze has created the ideal environment for the girls to push each other, Zagitova and Medvedeva have their hands full to stay ahead of Trusova.

“In our group, there are so, so, so many, younger skaters, some doing so difficult jumps and elements,” Medvedeva said.

She had to pull out of the Worlds to get treatment on a leg injury she suffered before PyeongChang.

Russia’s skating czar Evgeni Plushenko revealed there are girls in Moscow who can land four-revolution jumps.

Trusova is just one of them but due to the age rule she is not allowed to compete at senior competitions until 2020.

 

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