Alexandra Trusova lands FIVE QUADS in one free skate at Russian national senior test skates

The 17-year-old stole the show in Chelyabinsk as she performed to music from Disney's 'Cruella' movie soundtrack: "This is not a competition, so I'm not completely satisfied," she said.

By Ken Browne
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

We saw something truly special from Alexandra Trusova on day two at the Russian national senior test skates as she landed five quad jumps in her free skate at the Ice Arena Traktor in Chelyabinsk on Sunday 12 September 2021.

Trusova was the final skater on ice at the end of the event, and spun her way into the headlines by doing something no other female figure skater had ever managed before.

But with an Olympic season ahead, and the fierce competition surrounding her, the 17-year-old wasn't getting carried away:

"I often skate well at the test skates, better than at competitions, so I will try even harder to succeed in competitions," she told Russian TV afterwards.

What went before Trusova was world-class:

World champion Anna Shcherbakova put down a memorable free skate, Kamila Valieva, Maiia Khromykh - fresh out of their junior careers - showed why they're a threat for the three Olympic women's singles places going for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva also proved that at 24 she's not afraid of her teen prodigy teammates and is in the hunt for one of those three Olympic spots too between Saturday's short program and Sunday's free.

Elsewhere in the men's singles, leading man Mikhail Kolyada didn't reach the heights he's capable of while juniors Evgeni Semenenko and Mark Kondratiuk made strong opening statements.

Read on for a full wrap-up.

Trusova 'not completely satisfied'

Performing to music from the Disney's 'Cruella' movie soundtrack by Florence + The Machine, Nicholas Britell, and John McCrea, Trusova's speed, expressiveness and execution were all in tune - and then she jumped five quads.

"This is not a competition, so I'm not completely satisfied," she said, keeping her feet on the ground, also talking about the fact that she chose the music, which means a deeper connection for her.

"I watched the film "Cruella" three times, I really liked it. It was hinted to me that maybe we will choose this music. I watched the film and began to persuade Eteri Georgievna [Tutberidze] to take this music. They agreed."

"I tried to work on the skating and performance besides jumping, in the short one I skate better - there are no quads."

The scary about her free skate that does have quads in it, five of them, is that she can actually improve on it. In Chelyabinsk the quads included a flip, a Salchow which she only just hung on to, and two successful quad Lutz jumps.

If she can clean it up and land all five, that's a terrifying prospect for her competitors.

As this is a test event designed to allow the country's top skaters present their programs for the year to a panel of judges and the public, her free skate may not be recorded for the historic feat it is, but that's exactly what this free skate is:

Historic.

In this Olympic season Trusova has just laid down a marker and raised the bar once more.

Ladies: Kostornaia back to her best

While Trusova, the last skater on the ice, managed to make the event her own, there were plenty of other exhilarating moments too.

Alena Kostornaia delivered a brand new free skate to Vivaldi's Four Seasons and it was simply spectacular.

The 18-year-old had skated clean despite some difficult elements including a triple Lutz-double toe combo, a triple flip, and a triple toe loop.

They were on their feet in the Ice Traktor Arena applauding and Kostornaia is clearly out of that mental slump and the self-doubt she suffered last season.

The free skate wasn't perfect, but it was pretty close, her short program was impressive on Saturday too.

Kostornaia is back.

Anna Shcherbakova was up after Kostornaia's powerful performance and showed her incredible mental strength too, unintimidated, making it clear she's well on her way back to top form after injury.

Shcherbakova's music included Mozart, 'The Master and Margarita' and 'Ruska' by Apocalyptica to which she jumped elements like a textbook triple Salchow, infusing a depth of emotion and athleticism into her routines that few can match.

Valieva and Tuktamysheva state their case

Outstanding in Saturday's short program, Kamila Valieva had her head in her hands after a couple of falls in her free, but it wasn't as bad as she thought.

Promoted to the final group on Sunday, an effortless triple Axel, a quad toe she just held on to, keeping her hand off the ice, and other very difficult elements would have meant a huge score had this been a competition.

She told Russian TV afterwards:

"I was calm during the warm-up, but after the warm-up, I was overwhelmed. In training, I also did not always skate cleanly, but in the six-minute session I managed to do the first half of the programme.

"In training, we got clean skates with all the elements. I try to skate the program more maturely, but so far I have not succeeded. Because of insecurity, you restrain your movements, because of this there is a mess."

Valieva is in the mix for a Beijing spot with an excellent short program and this free skate to 'Bolero' by Maurice Ravel that - if she can execute and deliver - will take a lot to beat.

With all these precocious teenagers leading the world in the women's game right now, World silver medallist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva is the senior of this group at 24.

But does she care?

Nope.

Asked what it felt like to be in a six-way battle to make the Beijing Olympics she told Russian TV she feels no pressure, particularly when she's on the ice.

Her free skate flowed to the sounds of 'Arabia' by Hanine El Alam and 'My Love' by Artem Uzunov and she owned the ice with her sassy, confident interpretation of the music.

Technically she nailed a great triple Axel, popped a second one, fell on a triple Lutz, then landed a lovely triple Salchow.

A mixed bag, but she had crowd on her side and on their feet by the end. She'll fight all the way for that ticket to Beijing.

Maiia Khromykh shines a light

Maiia Khromykh, 15, showed why she is one of six (Seven if you include Daria Usacheva!) skaters challenging for three Olympic places with a sensational free skate.

A lovely interpretation of music 'Buenos Aires Hora Cero' and 'El Tango De Roxanne' from Moulin Rouge allied to technical elements the quality of a quad toe-triple toe early on and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop later proved what a talent she is.

The teen star fell on a triple Lutz, but that was her only real mistake in a program that proves she's a threat too.

Men's: Established stars yet to master new programs while young guns shine

A new generation of Russian Olympic Committee men's skaters are out to emulate their dominant women's teammates but we didn't really see the best of the leading men in Chelyabinsk.

Dmitri Aliev is aiming to secure another Russian quota place for the team in Beijing 2022 when he competes in the Nebelhorn Trophy ISU Challenger Series event from 22–25 September.

But there are still a few kinks to iron out for Aliev in both his short and the free. His longer program was performed to 'And the Waltz Goes On' but things didn't really happen the way he wanted.

Off balance on a triple toe, he didn't go for the quad toe he's very capable of, did the same on a triple Lutz, leaned on a couple more triples, didn't rotate fully, and the 2018 Olympian wasn't on it today.

All the pieces are there and there were other good moments, but he was visibly disappointed and we can expect a different Aliev when the competition starts at the Nebelhorn Trophy.

It wasn't vintage stuff from national champ Mikhail Kolyada either, on Saturday he struggled with his short and was back on the ice on Sunday skating his free to 'Schindler's List'.

A little marker that his confidence isn't at its highest was the way he landed a quad Sal in practice but opted for a triple Sal in his routine, then there was a fall on his first quad toe too.

But Kolyada is a brilliant, accomplished skater and that's obvious every time he steps on the ice: A superb triple Axel and an absolutely perfect quad toe-double toe made that plain to see in his free.

Some work to do, but we can expect plenty from Mikhail Kolyada this term.

ROC men's next gen rise

While established stars Kolyada and Aliev were not at their best, the young risers made a statement in the Ice Arena Traktor.

18-year-old Mark Kondratiuk wowed on Saturday in the short and was at it again on Sunday in Chelyabinsk putting down a fabulous free to 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.

There's something different about Kondratiuk, he's all heart, and his artistry, speed and execution are unique, he skated clean in both the short and the free and puts all he has into every skate.

A painter off the ice, he's an artist on it too.

Evgeni Semenenko steps up despite wardrobe malfunction

Another 18-year-old breakthrough from last season, Evgeni Semenenko had a fine first half of his free skate landing world-class quad toe and quad Salchows, then a jaw-dropping quad toe-triple toe, but with two costume changes planned, neither happened, you could see him pulling at the Velcro that refused to come loose.

Put out by that, the second half of the program was a little fraught as he popped out of one triple Axel and stepped out of another.

Beyond the mistakes and the wardrobe malfunctions there's a really powerful program there from an 18-year-old who will be well worth watching this semester.

Semenko surprised some more senior skaters in the Russian Cup in February 2021 and will be out to spring a few more this season.

Alexander Samarin, 23, followed up a strong short program on Saturday with an excellent free skate on Sunday, performing to 'Save Us' by Armand Amar.

It's a song full of drama and Samarin interpreted it with the same energy, allowing himself another little smile at the end, after landing one quad Lutz-triple toe at full speed but just got his timing wrong for a second quad, then nailed a triple Axel and added a nice triple Lutz-Euler-triple flip combo.

Lots of potential points for those elements this season if he can get it right.

Lausanne 2020 silver medallist and 2020 World junior champion Andrei Mozalev is working on his transition from junior to senior at 18 years of age, he had a couple of falls on a quad toe and a triple Lutz, and while there's work to be done, clear signs of progress are there too.

Evgeni Semenenko performing at the ISU Worlds in March 2021 in Stockholm. (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Pairs: Tarasova / Morosov vs. Mishina / Galliamov - box office duel

This weekend showed us that World champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov and national champions Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov is a rivalry you can't miss this season.

If this were a contest, you would have to give it to Tarasova / Morosov after a superior short program and a stunning free.

Mishina / Galliamov stunned everyone after they finished fourth at the Russian National Championships then went on to win Worlds in Stockholm last season, but have work to do on their program this time around after a few falls and a short that lacked verve.

Aleksandra Boikova / Dmitrii Kozlovskii aren't quite at the level of the leading two pairs yet, but showed us plenty of potential in Chelyabinsk.

Ice dance World champs aiming for Olympic gold

World champions ice dance duo Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov are all but guaranteed a selection spot in Beijing and gave a solid performance in Chelyabinsk.

Alexandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin and Tiffany Zagorski / Jonathan Guerreiro also put down two strong routines, which, while they need a little polish, are entertaining and technically impressive.

From a purely entertainment point of view, try and watch Zahorski / Guerreiro's brand new fun and pulsating skate to 'Jai Shivshankar' - a banger of a song and a banger of a program to match.