Keeping up with skaters Figure skating drama for dummies


Anna Shcherbakova (left), Alena Kostornaia (center), Alexandra Trusova (right) on the podium at the 2020 European Figure Skating Championships. Creative Commons 4.0 international, image by Luu

Leah Hillier, Copy Editor

     Drama has become synonymous with the figure skating community, especially fans of Russian skaters. As a result of past incidents, as well as ongoing ones from the top skating schools, there are times when the drama seems unending.

     Eteri Tutberidze is a coach under the skating school Sambo 70, she teaches primarily ladies’ figure skating. Her students are associated with beginning the quad revolution in ladies’ figure skating, as well as becoming the youngest woman figure skater to win the Olympics. Yulia Lipnitskaya is the youngest, according to Yahoo Sports.

     A Quad, or a quadruple jump, is a type of jump with four revolutions. The variants of the jump vary, but the quadruple toe jump and quadruple salchow are the most common in the figure skating world currently. Except for the Quadruple Axle, a jump classified by four and a half rotations, every variety of the jump has the precedent for a quad.

     Recently figure skaters that have risen to fame include Alena Kostornaia, Alexandra “Sasha” Trusova, and Anna Shcherbakova, three skaters who were trained by Eteri and competed only with each other for the entirety of their junior years, some members of the figure skating community likened it to “a game of musical chairs, [because] they only ever lost to each other.”

     Noah Fish, senior, feels that “A sport that is dominated so heavily by one country, and one team, can cause problems, especially when some of the methods they use for training and for winning competitions are questionable.”

     However, the rise and fall of skaters is a reason to pause for many figure skating fans. Despite their quick rise to fame, they have a short time in the spotlight. “Tutberidze has become a top figure skating coach with a system that creates champions who are quickly discarded once her methods fail them.” According to Medium author Maddie M. Rafael Arutyunyan, coach of two-time World Champion Nathan Chen, says that he wants “to see what happens next to these girls, will they still land these jumps at age 18 or 19? They are doing these jumps with bodies that have not developed yet, with bones that are still growing. What will they be at age 40? Will they all need new hips?”

     Sadly, this has been something seen before in the figure skating world. Many figure skaters, especially ones who compete at high levels are forced to retire due to their body giving out. Four-time Olympian Evgeni Plushenko retired at 34, staying that he has “undergone 15 surgeries,” and finds that it would be “difficult to take part in [his] fifth Olympics, [he is] fed up with it.”

     On top of the potential risk to their body, the techniques used by Tutberidze rely heavily on low body weight, according to one of her skaters. Fish weighed in, “it’s terrible that talented skaters are being worked into the ground by being taught improper technique.”