The timing couldn’t be worse.
A day before the pair short program at the world figure skating championship, two-time world champion Eric Radford could see there was something wrong with his hip. And he could not do a triple Lutz.
“I’ve had a spasmed muscle in my deep abdominals,” he said, clenching his right hip after a practice Tuesday in which he was able to land only one triple Lutz, with hand down, mind you. It was clear that something was not right.
“It was bugging me, but I still had good control,” he said. “It was just kind of sore. And then this morning, I woke up and it was so stiff that I could barely move.”
This was not good news for a team that has had to iron out various wrinkles all season, that has been hustling to repair and improve all wayward elements, and that finally seemed to be finally getting a grasp on it all.
The triple Lutz is worth 6.0 as a base mark. At its max, with +3 bonuses added on, it could be worth as much as 8.1. A fall could cost a one-point deduction, as well as lost points on Grade of Execution (GOE).
This is a new wrinkle that Radford has never faced before. He said that when he got onto the ice, he just could not squeeze his legs together. “I don’t know what muscle it is specifically, whether it is my adductor or something. But
When I’m in the air, I can’t pull in properly. My legs feel like they are going to fly apart.”
Radford says he even has problems doing crosscuts. “I feel like I don’t have a lot of control over my hip,” he said. And it was not a cheerful voice.
He will work with a therapist Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Coach Bruno Marcotte said the physiotherapist knows what to do to help Radford. “I feel really confident that the physio will be able to help him,” he said.
The muscle issue began last week, but usually when he skated, it was fine. “It just got really bad [Monday],” Radford said.
The problem affects only the Lutz because his right leg pivots on the right hip to do it. And when he goes up into the air, the problem means he cannot squeeze in the air. “My legs feel floppy,” he said. He said it does not cause him pain. It’s numb. Pain would be easier to deal with, he said.
With other jumps, it’s easier to transfer weight and motion, he said. He can manage them.
During his second practice on Monday, Radford did a beautiful triple Lutz – double toe loop. “And my body felt great yesterday in practice,” he said.
The first practice actually was rather rocky, the second one hummed. On Tuesday, neither the first nor the second practice went well for Radford.
Even so, other elements sparkled on Tuesday’s last practice. Partner Meagan Duhamel said they did a really good throw quad, and a triple twist good enough to get level four that they have been practicing for extra points this year.
And while Radford was pondering his plan of attack during the practice, Duhamel circled around the rink, and avoided the triple Lutz. (“The more I do of them, I’m probably going to start getting into my head,” she said.) So she started doing other jumps, starting out with doubles. They were going so well, she started doing double Axel – triple toe loop combinations and a triple loop, things she does not usually do or practice.
“I didn’t even tell my coaches,” she said with a grin. “that was just for fun. I can only jump like that from time to time.”
Coach Bruno Marcotte said Duhamel went off to do her own thing to keep her mind positive and “to give Eric some space to gather his spirit.”
The timing couldn’t be worse.