Ice Network

Refreshed Rippon dreams of ratified quad Lutz

Farris remains focused despite broken blade, believes he can contend
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Adam Rippon will try to put his disappointing performance at the Four Continents Championships behind him when he takes the ice at worlds next week. -Jay Adeff

Adam Rippon placed 10th at the Four Continents Championships in Seoul, falling on quad Lutzes in his short program and free skate and failing to land a clean triple Axel.

On his media call Wednesday, the U.S. silver medalist told reporters the strain of traveling to another competition, just two weeks after the 2015 U.S. Championships, proved greater than he had thought.

"My goal for nationals was to go and tear it up, and I did that," said Rippon, 25, who won the free skate in Greensboro, North Carolina, with an inspiring skate to a Liszt piano concerto. "That took a lot of energy physically and mentally, and I lost a lot more steam than I thought I had lost. ... I was mentally and physically a little bit fried."

Rafael Arutunian, who coaches Rippon in Artesia, California, agreed with his skater's assessment.

"He is not ready yet to handle that many competitions," Arutunian said. "Sometimes he can shoot some, and then he gets empty. But I will make him get ready for worlds. I promise you, you will see a different [skater]."

Rippon, a two-time world junior champion, was sixth at his first world championships in 2010, when he competed as the second alternate, and 13th at his second worlds in 2012. Experience has taught him not to set too many expectations for himself.

"I had a lot of success in the junior ranks, and I took that as pressure to have immediate success in the senior ranks," he said. "When that didn't happen, I took it as a failure. But it takes everybody different time (periods) to regain their confidence. For me, it took 25 years."

In Shanghai, Rippon again plans quad Lutzes in both of his programs, and he would dearly love to be the first skater to hit the move cleanly at worlds.

"The biggest thing is maintaining the speed and the power, and going into each element with the intention of doing it with plus GOEs (Grades of Execution) instead of just getting the job done," he said. "That includes doing run-through after run-through, putting the quad in there, landing it or falling down, getting up and making sure the elements after don't suffer."

Rippon has more time to train the quad, now that his triple Axel has gained greater consistency.

"We've started to work more on the quad Lutz every day; since he got the other jumps, I can focus more on one jump," Arutunian said. "I could not say that last season, for example."

The skater rejected the notion of taking the quad out of his short and saving it for the free skate.

"I'm not the fragile skater people sometimes think I am," Rippon said. "I know I can land clean quad Lutzes. It's all about the experience. I've had success (with quad Lutzes) at nationals, although they weren't graded clean. ... It's better for me to go for everything than to play it safe. I don't believe in playing safe."

Maturing Farris copes with busted blades, new boots

Fresh off his silver medal at Four Continents, Joshua Farris was settling back into practice sessions at the World Arena, readying himself for a final training push before his first world championships.

The quadruple toe loop was growing so consistent that he and his coaches, Damon Allen and Christy Krall, planned to work it into his short program, choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle to Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love."

And then, one of his blades broke.

"It was the Friday after we got back from Korea, and it happened on a triple Axel," Allen said. "It just sent us scrambling to find an extra pair. We did, but one of the blades was a quarter-inch too long, so he ended up skating with one longer and one shorter blade for a few days."

The "old Josh" -- the one who, admittedly, didn't always make the most of his practices, occasionally getting down on himself, maybe even kicking the boards -- might have gotten frustrated. But these days, the broken blade was another chance for the 20-year-old skater to put his new mindset to the test.

"He handled it better than he would have even last season," Allen said. "Each day he shows his maturity. He handles any issue that comes his way, and all in all, he is handling this like a champion."

On a media call Tuesday, Farris credited both his U.S. bronze medal and his Four Continents silver to this new maturity. The sparkling programs he skated at those two events have made him one of the hottest U.S. skaters heading into the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships in Shanghai next week.

"I had to grow up a little bit," he said. "I think there were some things that I was being very immature about, training-wise. Not that I didn't respect the sport before, but I had to gain even more respect for it."

Farris added that "embarrassing" performances at the NHK Trophy in November prompted him to increase his off-ice workout sessions from two to three a week, and to do two program run-throughs a day instead of one.

"I think I started training harder than I ever have before," he said.

The skater is now wearing appropriate blades, but the delay ended plans to add the quad to his short. The jump is still planned in the free skate, set to music from Schindler's List.

"To add the quad to the short would mean a complete [overhaul] of the program physically, mentally and choreographically," Allen said. "Josh has had so much success his last two competitions with his (current) short program -- it's where he feels the most secure and most confident."

On Wednesday morning, Farris' coaching team still wasn't sure whether the skater will wear his new boots in Shanghai or compete in his old boots with the new blades.

"The plan was to go into new boots immediately after Four Continents, because he needed more support," Allen said. "He's in new boots and right-sized blades now. ... We will make the decision within the next day."

Farris has high hopes heading into Shanghai.

"I believe that if I skate the best I possibly can, the way I know how to skate, I will contend with the top at worlds," he said.

Looking ahead: Farris hopes to have Buttle choreograph a new free skate for him for next season. He will keep his "Give Me Love" short, in keeping with Allen and Krall's system of alternating new routines.

"The first year, you get confident with a program," Allen said. "Also, next season, Josh will have the quad in his short. Keeping ["Give Me Love"] will make it an easier transition."