Anna Shcherbakova does not have such a diverse set of quads as Alexandra Trusova. However, this does not make her a less dangerous opponent, as we have seen more than once. Possession of senior quads, lutz and flip, plus competent calculation – this is the formula for her success. In addition, statistics show that Anya is generally very stable in her jumps.
Unfortunately, this stability has been accompanied by regression over the past two years. The crown quad lutz disappeared from the skater’s content, and the total number of quads was reduced in most cases to one at the box office.
The off-season is a great time to remember the entire thorny path of the Beijing Olympic champion in conquering quads. All the ups and downs, of which there were many.
Another young quad player Tutberidze
Anna Shcherbakova has been jumping quads in competitions for four seasons: three adults and one junior. It happened because she almost completely missed her first year in juniors due to a broken leg. But then Anya returned and quickly joined the sports race. By the beginning of the new season-2018/2019, a quadruple lutz appeared in her arsenal. She made her debut with him already at the second start – the Grand Prix among juniors in Canada. Then she fell, but luck was not long in coming: a month later, at the second stage of the Russian Cup, Anya performed a clean quadruple lutz and was strengthened by a combination of a quadruple lutz – a triple sheepskin coat. Anya made a cascade with a blot, but she avoided falling and left. Three weeks later, she immaculately repeated it at the Russian Cup stage in Kazan.
At the final of the Junior Grand Prix, Anya failed to shine: she fell from the quadruple lutz twice, which left her without a cascade. After this trouble, she refused to risk two quads and relied on one solo.
Photo: RIA Novosti
It worked at the Russian Championships: the athlete skated cleanly in both programs and won the first significant title in her career. But she failed to resist the quad at the Russian championship, and she lost not only to Alexandra Trusova with two quads, but also to Alena Kostornaya, who skated at that time without ultra-si.
The fall overtook Anya at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Sarajevo. However, there was no one to compete with, and she confidently won.
Ana managed to land a quadruple lutz again at the World Junior Championships, albeit with a blot. She took the silver medal after Trusova and ended her junior career on this joyful note.
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The dizzying peak of Shcherbakova’s quads
At the adult level, Anna Shcherbakova made her debut at the Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo, Italy. Content with one solo quadruple lutz allowed her to start the season with a victory, and at the US Grand Prix Anya again included a quadruple lutz – a triple toe loop in the free cascade. She skated cleanly and also performed with two quads at the Grand Prix in China.
Anna Shcherbakova in the 2019/2020 season
Photo: Maria Kateshova, Championship
The quadruple lutz became the hallmark of the fragile figure skater, but, apart from him, she did not have any ultra-si for a long time. So when she went for a quadruple flip in the 2019 Grand Prix Final, it was an incredible surprise. Anya fell, but everyone understood that the possession of two senior quads could help her bypass Alyona Kostornaya, who reigned that season. And so it happened: at the Russian Championship in Krasnoyarsk, Anya performed a clean solo quad-lutz and a combination with it, and also landed a quadruple flip with a small blot. Such a powerful performance allowed her to defend the title of champion of Russia.
Already at the European Championships, Anya received a positive bonus for the quality of performance (GOE) of the quadruple flip.
The first adult season ended up being the richest in quads: Shcherbakova jumped two types of quads, made a combination with a lutz and showed crazy stability. Of the 11 quad-luts, eight performed cleanly, and fell only once – at the European Championships. And out of three quad-flips, she also dropped one jump, performed one with a blot and one without errors.
Further, alas, Anya’s quads went down.
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The disappearance of cascades with quads
Preparation for the 2020/2021 season was complicated for all skaters by a long absence of training, so Anna’s one quadruple flip at the Russian Cup in Syzran did not cause alarm. Although it was strange that she did not go for a quadruple lutz, which she had jumped much more often than a flip before. Lutz did not appear at the Russian Cup in Sochi either, and she missed the Russian Grand Prix due to illness. Insidious pneumonia could have left her without the Russian Championship, but Anya still went to the main national tournament, despite her incomplete recovery. And won again! Her third Russian title was sponsored by content with two pure quads: lutz and flip.
Anna Shcherbakova in the 2020/2021 season
Photo: Alexander Safonov, “Championship”
In February, at the First Channel Cup, Anya repeated the same ultra-c set. But since then, she hasn’t shown a quad lutz again in competition.
Anya won the World Championship in Stockholm despite falling from a single quad-flip, so the victory was not as beautiful as it was, for example, Alina Zagitova, who skated both programs perfectly in Saitama two years earlier. Nevertheless, Shcherbakova rehabilitated herself at the World Team Championship, where she landed a quad-flip and made a significant contribution to the overall gold of the Russian team.
In the 2020/2021 season, Anna skated six starts, as in the previous one, but showed an order of magnitude fewer quadruples: eight versus 14. Instead of 11 quadruple lutzes, there were only two. At the same time, flips increased noticeably, and out of six attempts, only one ended in a fall. But against the background of the absence of cascades with quads, this achievement did not add optimism.
Almost 100 quads in 33 rentals. Cosmic statistics of Trusova’s quadruple jumps
Is there a regression?
The beginning of the Olympic season Shcherbakova was spoiled by a summer toe injury. The athlete did not have time to properly prepare for the first Budapest Trophy tournament, and her attempt at a quadruple flip ended in a fall. But at the Grand Prix in Italy, she performed noticeably better and coped with the quad. At the stage in France, I even wanted to demonstrate a quadruple lutz, but fell before I could break away from the ice. It is not clear what happened then, and whether this case is considered a fall from the quad is debatable. But there was a jump entry, and Anya was given zero points for the element.
This misunderstanding did not prevent her from performing a quad flip in cold blood, but no other attempts at quad-lutz were made at the starts either. A once-beloved jump turned into a ghost from the past.
Anna Shcherbakova in the Olympic season
Photo: Alexander Safonov, “Championship”
Anya failed to land a quadruple flip at the Russian Championship. Everything worked out at the European Championships, but it seemed impossible to go to win the Olympics with a single quad, even if it was a senior one. However, on the ice of Beijing, the skater became more complicated and performed a new cascade for herself: a quadruple flip – a triple sheepskin coat. These two quads were enough to win, and at the First Channel Cup, Anya, in her newfound status as an Olympic champion, was again calmly skating with one quad flip.
Oddly enough, Anya won the main gold in her career in her worst season in terms of ultra-c performance. In seven tournaments, she landed eight quad attempts. Fell three times, which is not much. But in most cases it was limited to one quad. Anya is much inferior in jumping content to herself at the age of 15.
Of course, it’s cool that out of 42 quadruple jumps in her entire career, Anya landed 30 – 71%. Alexandra Trusova has a little less such landings – 68%. But Sasha also has much more quad attempts – 94. And also in the Olympic season, the Russian Rocket showed progress: it landed 14 out of 19 quads in five arbitrary ones – this is more than 73%. Anya landed 62.5% of her quads.
There is something to strive for.