Black-eyed Rippon ready to move on

Quad may be in the cards at Skate America

Adam Rippon's "Rippon Lutz" has become a signature move in his routines.
Adam Rippon's "Rippon Lutz" has become a signature move in his routines. (Getty Images)


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(11/02/2010) - Adam Rippon's eye may be a "little black and blue," his shoulder "a little stiff," but there are no serious after effects from his spectacular practice collision with Patrick Chan last week, the skater told reporters on a teleconference earlier today.

Rippon, who won bronze behind Chan and Nobunari Oda at Skate Canada in Kingston, Ontario, doesn't plan any major changes to his programs for his next Grand Prix event, Skate America, held in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 11 -14.

"The layout of my short program and free skate is relatively the same as at Skate Canada," he said.

In Kingston, Rippon stayed on his feet, putting out two solid programs. His biggest mistake was turning out of the second triple Axel in his free skate. Despite this, he finished 6.48 points behind Chan, who fell three times in his short program and once in his free.

Much of Chan's win can be chalked up to strong Program Component Scores, including skating skills, performance, transitions, interpretation and choreography.

"I'm happy with the way I skated and debuted my new short [to Tchaikovski's Romeo and Juliet] at Skate Canada," he said. "I think I need to skate with a little bit more freedom. I didn't feel totally invested in the competition...I'm glad I have a few days to recoup and [get back into] full form.

"I've been working a lot on my skating skills, and I want to continue to work on them and improve, to develop an effortless quality."

The skater added there is also room for improvement in his spin levels. At Skate Canada, a few of his spins gained Level 3; at Skate America, he'd like them all to be Level 4, to boost his score.

"Every little bit helps," he said. "We want to go back and make sure all the levels are accounted for."

Both Chan and Oda executed quad toes in their free skates, banking 12.30 and 10.30 points respectively. That's something Rippon has yet to accomplish, but it's on his agenda.

"I think the pressure is always there for skaters and athletes to continue to push the envelope technically," he said. "I'll be training the quad, and I hope to add it [to my free program] if not in Portland, then at nationals."

ISU rule changes in jump values are encouraging skaters to try more difficult elements. At Skate Canada, five men did quads and gained at least partial credit for the four-revolution jump. Canadian Kevin Reynolds executed two different quads, the Salchow and toe, in both his short and free.

"For sure with changes with the point values -- now there is an under rotation ["<," assigning 70 percent value to the jump] and downgrade ["<<"] -- there is a little more incentive to go out and attempt quads," Rippon said.

"For me personally, it's important that a jump be stable before [doing it in] competition. It's important for me to skate clean, solid programs, with a quad or not. I'm not sure about [doing it in] Portland; we'll see how I'm feeling."

The stiff shoulder won't change plans for his "Rippon" Lutz, the signature move that has Rippon rotating the difficult triple with both arms over his head. 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano executed a variation [the "Tano"] with his right arm over head; Rippon does that move as well, using his left arm.

"When I first came to skate [with coach Brian Orser in 2008], I was shy to show him the Lutz with one arm, because Boitano was such a famous rival of his. I didn't know if [Orser] would never want to talk to me again, I had no idea."

Orser encouraged the move; eventually, Rippon was goaded into trying something even more challenging.

"I was just fooling around one day training, and [choreographer] David Wilson joked, "You can do it with one arm, so why not two?' They laughed, but I took it seriously. I tried the new triple and it was incredibly dangerous...if anyone saw me try it, they'd say, 'never again.'"

Rippon debuted the jump it at his first Grand Prix last season. He uses it as a solo triple; the 'Tano variation is done as part of a three-jump combination in his free skate.