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Russian figure skaters took the entire podium at the World Cup – RT in Russian

For the first time in history, Russian figure skaters took the entire podium at the world championship. Alexandra Trusova performed three out of five quadruple jumps, won the free program and managed to play nine places after failing in the short program. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva coped with both triple axels and six years later won the medal again. And Anna Shcherbakova confirmed the title of the most stable among compatriots this season and stood on a par with Maria Butyrskaya, Irina Slutskaya, Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova.

When four equally claim the gold medal, it is always not only intriguing, but also extremely dramatic. In this sense, the women’s final almost repeated the one that happened on Thursday in pair skating. Four were going to fight for three medals: the strongest figure skater of Russia of the last three years Anna Shcherbakova, two-time Japanese champion Rika Kihira, world champion in 2015 Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and, as strange as it may sound, Alexandra Trusova, who took 12th place after the performance of the short program. In this plot, the decisive factor was not that Sasha was losing to the leader 16.18 in terms of an intermediate result, but five jumps in four turns, declared by the athlete for the final skate.

Which of the four deserved the victory more? It is unlikely that an objective answer could be given to this question. Shcherbakov? Certainly. Throughout the season, Anya showed tremendous fortitude, and with it – stability. She skated the short program absolutely fantastic on Wednesday, although in training the fight with quadruple jumps was mostly not in favor of the skater.

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For the three-time Russian champion, the start in Stockholm may have remained the only chance in her career to win a truly big victory: it seemed too real that the athlete would simply not stand another season at the same high level. That, having reached the adult level, she will be replaced in the national team by Kamila Valieva, Daria Usacheva or Maya Khromykh, just two years later Anya herself, together with Trusova and Alena Kostornaya, actually cut off the competitive careers of Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva.

Even less believed in the prospect of the next world championship for Lisa Tuktamysheva. The 24-year-old athlete could probably only theoretically oppose the “new wave” next season, but in Stockholm, Alexei Mishin’s student looked like a kind of joker. A person who does not seem to have great chances for resounding success, but is quite capable, with faultless skating, to grab the last chance if the younger and more desperate suddenly start to make mistakes. Still, the degree of risk, and with it – the probability of error, on Friday exceeded all permissible limits in the strongest warm-up.

The Japanese woman Rika Kihira should have felt the most comfortable: her triple axels, like the quadruple salchow, were already mastered by this athlete on an “adult” body, and this is always a certain guarantee that the jumps are stabilized and can be preserved for the next seasons. But much more important was the fact that Ricky almost guaranteed these seasons. How they would be for all three Russian girls, if they skate for any other country except Russia.

Trusova stood alone in this row. In her person, figure skating has received a rare type of athlete, who is of interest to the whole world, despite the absence of any significant titles. Sasha, not only succeeded in her irresistible desire to turn all ideas about the limit of human capabilities upside down, but for many people she became the personification of the essence and meaning of sport. An example of an athlete who cannot be broken or stopped.

For her final performance, the skater announced five quadruple jumps. If they were successfully performed, the basic complexity of the program should have been 78 points. An unprecedented amount for women’s skating. Unprecedented and frightening. First of all, the unknown. Who and when will be able to dare to do this is a question that even figure skating gurus cannot answer.

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Surely someone will habitually say in hindsight, when on the final protocol with two falls of Sasha from Salchow and the second Lutz, that such a number of ultra-difficult jumps in the final should have been abandoned. But here, without hesitation, I will side with the skater and explain why.

It is really incredibly difficult to put so many quads in one program, and there is only one way to achieve stability – to continue to roll just such content. Then there is pure mathematics: Sasha earned 12.57 for the quadruple flip at the beginning of the program. Lutz in a cascade with a sheepskin coat brought her 19.48. The cascade of triple lutz and sheepskin coat in the second half of the program gave an increase of 12.63.

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Before that (and also in the second half), Trusova performed two more quadruple jumps, albeit with blots. But in general, it was obvious that skating does not go through a strain, but in working mode, that the skater has enough strength to pull out such content – in this regard, Trusova’s jumps are advantageous, since they are based not on the condition of the child’s body, but on muscle strength and explosive reactions.

Actually, Sasha herself said after the skate that she liked the free program much more than the short one, just because there are many jumps, that she went to Stockholm with the intention of performing five quads in the free program and was not going to deviate from this plan under any circumstances.

It is also important that Sasha does not have a single jump with which she would experience technical problems. And this means that she is able to receive the maximum marks for any of them. It just takes time. As soon as the skater achieves the ability to roll out all the elements (and this, for sure, will happen), it will become extremely difficult to get ahead of her, not to say – impracticable.

Well, after Friday’s skate, which, with a great advantage, brought Trusov into the lead, the debutante of the adult world championship could just wait for the remaining six participants in the strongest warm-up to skate.

Incredibly, but not the highest result for Sasha (217.20 with a personal record of 241.02) allowed the skater to hold on to the first position until the three strongest athletes entered the ice following the results of the short program (running ahead, this evening no one I was able to skate the free program better in principle, and the technical score went off scale at all). And this is from the 12th place!

To get around Tuktamysheva (she landed slightly awkwardly on the first triple axel, as a result of which the cascade was minus, and in the middle of the program she fell from a triple flip) Trusova lacked three with a small score. On the other hand, despite the mistakes, Lisa suffered for her result, pulled out the maximum possible from the program, and her tears, flowing down onto the mask in the kiss-and-cry zone, spoke of overcoming better than any words.

And a few minutes later, a sensation that was cleaner than Trusov’s in the short program burst: on the most important evening of the year, Kihira was so out of her feet that her skating at once lost its usual charm, and the result of the free program was only ninth. This meant that for the first time in the history of world figure skating, all three places on the podium would be occupied by Russian singles.

Of course, with the proviso that Shcherbakova will be able to do the impossible again for anyone, but not herself, and put a golden dot under this statement. And Anna put her down, even with one unfortunate fall, which was quickly forgotten by all those who supported her. Because everything else was done really powerfully and beautifully.

Five minutes later, she began to send air kisses to her compatriots who were waiting for her on the podium. As if she did not believe that everything was happening in reality. The First Concert of Pyotr Tchaikovsky sounded from the speakers of the arena and the flag of the FFKKR raised under the arches ideally complemented the feeling of the fantastic plot.

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