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Post: Yildiz Tutberidze quits one skating. He had no choice


Figure skater Daria Usacheva, one of the main stars of Eteri Tutberidze, is considering switching to ice dancing. RIA Novosti Sport explains how a serious injury made him think like this.

Often in the conscious age, interdisciplinary transitions do not come from a good life, and the case of Daria Usacheva confirms this. Just a few years ago, Dasha was one of the new stars of the Eteri Tutberidze group – not the most technical, but definitely talented. She did not have track programs like Kamila Valieva and quadruple jumps like Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, and yet she remained very close, very close to them. And she was the strongest among those who didn’t jump ultra-si.

Figure skating.  Control rental.  Women.  Short program - RIA Novosti, 1920, 03/09/2023
Figure skating. Control rental. Women. short program

He began to gain credibility at the young level. She competed in the 2019 Grand Prix Final in Turin with Valieva (although not a quadruple at the time) and American Alice Liu (who was still doing quad lutz and triple axel jumping at the time). He lost to only two of them, winning the bronze medal. Below, for example, was Ksenia Sinitsyna, who is now one of the most “adult” figure skaters in Russia, followed by a promising teenager with a rare combination of triple lutz-triple loops and quads in the bud. A few months later, Usacheva took second place in the junior world, one step ahead of Liu by three points. Valieva was still in the lead, but Daria did not officially fight with her. Now.

Then covid time came and figure skating was locked in the framework of national tournaments. That season Usacheva made a real breakthrough, which helped her get into the elite of the national team. She didn’t start the ultra-c jump (despite her triple axel and quad salchow pecking), but the stability in her triple jump performance and the same inherent ingredient made her an instant contender for the highest places.

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However, the immediate result in his case was not an end in itself. If you take a look at Daria’s medal list for the 2020/21 season, it might seem like there has been no dramatic change in her career. Silvers and bronzes of the stages of the Russian Cup, bronzes of the Final of the series, fourth place in the national championship (although the last one fell outside the overall standings, because the Russian championship in women’s singles is incredibly competitive) – not bad, although not wow.

But if you dig deeper and look at the scores, everything will fall into place. If Usacheva previously averaged 210, then during the covid season her average score jumped to 229-230 with technical content of similar complexity. For example, Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva received about the same amount in their year. In case anyone forgot, he is the Olympic champion and silver medalist of Pyeongchang.

After such comparisons, it was not easy to get rid of thoughts about the Olympics about Usacheva, not only for fans and journalists, but also for the federation. Probably, the patrons of our figure skating still had Daria in mind, at least as a backup in case of force majeure, and therefore they began to “pump” her grades in advance. However, attention should also be paid to the progress the figure skater has made without reference to stealth games. “I had a feeling I could do it. I will work hard – and it will get better. I realized I had a chance,” Dasha said in an interview in the spring of 2021.

Darya Usacheva after her women's free skating performance at the Russian Figure Skating Championships in Chelyabinsk.  On the left is his coach Eteri Tutberidze.  -RIA Novosti, 1920, 03/09/2023
Darya Usacheva after her women’s free skating performance at the Russian Figure Skating Championships in Chelyabinsk. On the left is his coach Eteri Tutberidze.

taken from the ice

With this feeling, Usacheva rushed to the accelerated study of the triple axel and the quadruple salchow. The presence of these jumps in the arsenal could turn him from a potential substitute in the Beijing Olympics application into a full-fledged contender for entry into the main application, and Daria was well aware of this. Over time, intense training began to cause health problems, especially in the hamstring muscle. On the control skates of the Olympic season in Chelyabinsk, after jumping, she often got upset and even cried. As it turned out later, she was an injury.

The damage progressed, it was impossible to stop. With a sore leg, Daria managed to win a silver medal at the US adults’ Grand Prix and was very close to making it to the Series Final. This interim goal was extremely important to him, both in terms of ratings for subsequent seasons and selection for the Olympics. And when it was learned that Alexandra Trusova was unable to make it to the Finals (she withdrew from one of the stages due to a stress fracture in her foot), getting there would open up additional opportunities for Usacheva. While Anna Shcherbakova is still in shape after her summer toe fracture, she at least had a chance to take second place. And for the Olympic trio, silver from the Grand Prix Final is already a thing, given the health issues of the two contenders.

Figure skating.  Russian championship.  Women.  Free program - RIA Novosti, 1920, 03/09/2023
Figure skating. Russian championship. Women. free program

True, for this he had to take the podium in the second stage of the Grand Prix in Japan, for which he was completely unprepared due to his worsening leg problems throughout the season. As a result, in the six minutes before the short program, Daria unpleasantly fell on her hips and could not get up on her own. Working with the Tutberidze team at the time, Dr. Philip Shvetsky picked her up on the ice, after which the injured figure skater was rushed to the hospital.

Doctors very quickly determined the type of damage – Daria had a fracture of the small trochanter of the femur, according to Match TV. At the same time, the FFKKR press service is often not willing to inform the public about the nature of the skaters’ injuries (for example, the federation did not report anything about Trusova’s injury and removal from the stage. Japan), promptly issued a press release and made a completely different diagnosis – “right rupture of a ligament in the growth zone of the femur, one of the inner muscles of the leg.And there were several reasons to doubt this.

First, any ligament injury in the “avulsion” and “rupture” category requires surgical intervention. The bond does not grow together on its own, it must be sewn or glued to the surface. There can be no exception to this – unless you want to stay lame for the rest of your life. At the same time, Daria gave an interview as soon as she got home from Japan and said that she did not plan any operations and that the treatment includes “peace”. This is typical only for fractures and certainly not for serious damage to ligaments.

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Second, the end of the press release – “the injury does not require a very long treatment, rehabilitation. In 99 percent of cases, the athlete returns to normal sports activities” and both suggestions are actually refuted. Daria was able to return to training only a few months after her injury, but still could not prepare for the competition.

Thus, treatment and rehabilitation takes more than one year in total. Isn’t that a “very long” time? Since Daria still cannot return to “normal sports activities” and at least partially restore the jump content, then this drops to the unique 1%? Or was the nature of the injury really different?

In any case, with the return to the single skate Usacheva does not yet agree. Probably, this is where the option arose with the transition to ice dancing, where the skater is currently actively working. According to an RIA Novosti source, he even tried to match 2020 Youth Olympic Games champion Dario Chirizano, but in the end, the guys just didn’t fit. After 2-3 weeks of trials at the training camp in Dubai, it was decided not to take part in the couple, and growth parameters were cited as one of the reasons for this.

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Most likely, Daria has not yet made a final decision. This is also indicated by the difficult search for a partner (there are very few of them in Russia in principle) and the fact that he has not yet left Tutberidze. But no matter how the situation develops in the end, I wish Daria to find herself and leave all the difficulties in the past. He is a very interesting and bright athlete, as he is still ahead.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.

Source: Ria

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