The 15-year old Russian phenomenon Alexandra Trusova is one of the favorites to win all major competitions of the 2019/2020 season. At Japan Open 2019, early in the season, Trusova landed four quadruple jumps in one program while getting a whooping score of 160.53 points for her free skate at the Japanese event.
Alexandra outscored her teammate, Olympic and World champion Alina Zagitova, who perfectly executed all of her elements and basically skated to her maximum potential. Frankly, Zagitova lost to Trusova by a relatively narrow 6-point margin (considering over 17 point difference in the technical score) despite not having any quads nor a triple axel.
So, the question is, keeping in mind Trusova’s technical advantage above the competition, is she going to be unbeatable this season (as long as she stays healthy)? Does anyone even have a chance to place ahead of Alexandra if she delivers 4 clean quads in the free skate as she did at Japan Open? Can Alina Zagitova, Alena Kostornaia, Anna Shcherbakova, or maybe Rika Kihira best Trusova at the Grand Prix Final, Russian Nationals, Europeans, or 2020 Worlds?
Trusova is going to be behind after the short program
Quadruple jumps aren’t allowed in the Ladies’ short program which is going to play a big role in the end results. This rule is a huge disadvantage for Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova but it really benefits ladies with a triple axel in their arsenal – I’m talking about Rika Kihira and Alena Kostornaia (we’ll set aside Tuktamysheva as it’s unlikely she’ll make the national team this season).
Trusova is not going to win the short program without quads and it is a fact. Her personal best score in the short program is 74.91 points. Unless she lands a clean 3A in the short, Alexandra won’t be able to hit anywhere close to an 80-point mark which will put her pretty far behind leaders after the short.
In comparison, Alina Zagitova’s short program score at last year’s Worlds was 82.08. This season, with a clean skate, she will most likely top that score which can put her over 7 points ahead of Alexandra Trusova going into the free skate.
Rika Kihira’s personal best in the short program is even higher than Zagitova’s – 83.97. Alena Kostornaia, with a clean skate with a 3A, can score well over 80 points as well. She got 77.25 this season without a 3A so she is potentially looking at 82-83 points with a well-executed triple axel in her program.
Short program scores will play a key role in the end results, particularly, what will be the gap between SP leaders and Trusova. From what it looks like, Zagitova, Kihira, and Kostornaia have the potential to be 7-8 points ahead of Alexandra after the short. In such a case, I wouldn’t be so sure that Trusova is going to win it in the end even if she nails three or four quads in the free skate.
As I mentioned earlier, in the long program at 2019 Japan Open, Alina Zagitova without a single quad or a triple axel lost to Trusova just a little bit over 6 points. Alexandra didn’t skate perfect then but she did deliver four clean quadruple jumps (4S, 4Lz, 4T+3T, 4T+3S). Trusova got a higher FS score 163.78 earlier at a smaller competition 2019 Nepela Memorial with “just” three quads but an event in Japan showed that judges aren’t going to be as generous to her with GOE’s and program components. Fair enough, I think Trusova’s components are already inflated and I don’t see them grow unless it is the Russian Grand Prix/Russian Nationals or she shows some major improvements throughout the season.
Alena Kostornaia has even better chances of placing ahead of Trusova since we’ve seen her land a beautiful 3A in the free skate at Finlandia Trophy. Kostornaia scored 157.59 in the long program with one of the two triple axels being called as under-rotated which cost her over 3 points.
Alena didn’t risk putting a relatively new jump into her short program yet but I don’t doubt it’s going to happen at some point throughout the season if the jump is consistent. And if Kostornaia skates clean with triple axels in both programs, she is most likely going to beat Trusova because of a significant lead after the short program. Either way, the final results are going to be very, very close.
As you can see, Alexandra Trusova doesn’t look “unbeatable” after all and I can see Alena Kostornaia, Alina Zagitova and, maybe, Rika Kihira placing ahead or very close to Alexandra at the major events of the season.
Whatever happens, we are in for a very intriguing 2019/2020 season. It’s going to be interesting to see how these young Russian teens will be scored when they compete face-to-face against, for example, an Olympic and World champion Alina Zagitova. Let’s just hope everybody will stay healthy and be able to perform at their full potential.
What do you guys think – do you see Alexandra Trusova winning all competitions of the 19/20 season? Would you put Trusova as a favorite to win this year’s Grand Prix Final and 2020 Worlds?
Here is a list of the upcoming Grand Prix competitions and participants in the Ladies events.
- Skate Canada (October 25-27)
- Internationaux de France (November 1-3)
- Cup of China (November 8-10)
- Rostelecom Cup (November 15-17)
- NHK Trophy (November 22-24)