Note: Two days after this story was first posted on nbcsports.com, Russia’s Alexandra Trusova repeated her feat from her country’s early September test skates and became the first woman to land three quads in a single program at a competition. At the Nepela Memorial, her senior international debut, Trusova hit a quad lutz, quad toe-triple toe and another quad toe to win in a rout (34-point margin) and get the highest free skate score (238.69) in the two-season history of the revised judging system.
No word is more fitting to describe dramatic change in singles figure skating than revolution.
Two of the discipline’s three elements, jumps and spins, involve revolving in the air or on the ice. The third element, footwork, often includes pirouettes of one or more turns.
And the dramatic change this season is a female revolution based on a single additional turn.
Young women are turning the quadruple jump into a key element of singles skating, pushing the technical side of their discipline forward at a pace that seemed unimaginable only three years ago.
It is far too early to tell where this will take the sport’s leading ladies. To quintuple jumps? Hip replacements? Olympic and senior world titles? A sport dominated by willowy young teens? Ephemeral brilliance rather than memorably long-lived excellence?
Suffice it to say that the present includes future shock for a sport that seems to be moving ever further from its past as ballet on ice and turning into a form of gymnastics on ice.
And, as the 19th Century American orator Wendell Phillips put it, “Revolutions never go backward.”
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