Trusova delights new coach Plushenko at training camp

Evgeni Plushenko says he has "very rich" programs for two-time world junior champ Alexandra Trusova who has now added the quad loop to her repertoire.

By Rory Jiwani

Alexandra Trusova has new "very rich" programs and a new quad jump ready for when figure skating competitions resume.

So says her new coach, two-time Olympic gold medallist Evgeni Plushenko, after Trusova joined him from Eteri Tutberidze's all-conquering Sambo-70 group in May.

The 16-year-old has recently returned from a training camp in Kislovodsk near the Georgian border.

And Plushenko revealed he was delighted with the two-time world junior champion's progress.

"Our training camp was successful, the training base was fantastic. All the facilities were great and that's why I wanted to go there. All my expectations were fulfilled." - Evgeni Plushenko speaking to Tass

New start for Trusova

Thanks to her two consecutive world junior titles in 2018 and 2019, and her stunning array of quadruple jumps, Trusova was the best known of Tutberidze's '3A' who made their senior debuts in the 2019/20 season.

She wowed fans including Nathan Chen at the free-skate only Japan Open, before taking ISU Grand Prix victories at Skate Canada and the Rostelecom Cup.

But a disappointing short program, in which she under-rotated and fell attempting a triple Axel in competition for the first time, left her down in fifth at last December's ISU Grand Prix Final in Turin.

Then came a far from foot-perfect but spectacular free skate - including the first quad flip landed in women's competition - which saw her finish third behind then training partners Alena Kostornaia and Anna Shcherbakova.

Ladies' Grand Prix Final top three (L-R): runner-up Anna Shcherbakova, winner Alena Kostornaia, third-placed Alexandra Trusova

Trusova was also third at the Russian nationals, where Shcherbakova took victory, and the European Championships where Kostornaia returned to the top of the podium.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of March's scheduled World Championships and two months later came Trusova's shock announcement that she was leaving Tutberidze to work under Plushenko, saying, "In life, sometimes the moment comes when you need to take a crucial step."

COVID-19 restrictions delayed her start with Plushenko, but the Turin 2006 men's singles champion is very pleased with what he has seen so far.

And it may not be long before we see Trusova, affectionately known as Sasha, become the first female skater to land a quad loop in competition, having already done so with the quad toe loop and quad Lutz.

Plushenko told Russian news agency Tass, "Sasha has managed to again execute all of her the quadruple jumps. Everything is in order with the triple Axel, with the flip, with the Rittberger (loop), and with all the jumps.“

While jumping has been Trusova's main asset, her new coach and assistant Sergei Rozanov - who also left Tutberidze for Plushenko in May - are keen to make her into more of an all-round skater.

Plushenko added, "We have made two programs for Sasha with Sergei Rozanov. These will be two completely different roles, new for her. This year's programs will be very rich, not 'run-up and jump', but a lot of work on step sequences and transitions.

"Sergei and I have plans for her to do difficult steps, like in men's singles, and she does them cleverly. Now we are working on costumes, speaking with global designers to make an outfit for her. Sasha now feels great, just like the other team members."

He also added that Trusova was "preparing for skating - with the juniors - for skating in September".

The figure skating calendar is still very much up in the air with fields for the ISU Grand Prix events, usually released in June, not expected until August at the earliest.

The opener, Skate America, is scheduled for Las Vegas on 18-20 October and any decision on it being cancelled must be made before 1 August.

Plushenko concluded, "We hope that everything goes according to the plan, and then life can tell us what to do next."