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Gold rips off perfect 'Rippon Lutz' at Skate Detroit

Reigning U.S. silver medalist thrilled to have accomplice, but still lays claim to title

Gracie Gold and Adam Rippon, fighting over the rights to the 'Rippon Lutz.'
Gracie Gold and Adam Rippon, fighting over the rights to the 'Rippon Lutz.' (Jacque Tiegs)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(07/28/2012) - Adam Rippon, move over.

Your namesake "Rippon" triple Lutz, done with both arms overhead, has a new co-star: Gracie Gold, who launched the jump in her winning Skate Detroit short program and plans to make it a staple this season.

"I saw Gracie practicing the 'Tano Lutz [with one arm aloft] at World Team Trophy and I told her, 'You could do it with both arms [overhead]' and gave her a few tips," Rippon said. "So a few weeks ago, she texted me: 'I can do a Rippon Lutz -- is it all right with you?' And I texted back, 'Go for it.'"

The U.S. silver medalist doesn't hold a patent on the maneuver, but he is the only man to do it in competition. Now, Gold has followed in his footsteps, hitting the jump at Skate Milwaukee earlier this month and again in her short program to "Hernando's Hideaway" at Skate Detroit this week. It gained positive grades of execution (GOEs) from the judging panel.

"I wanted to step it up technically, and this was one way to do it," Gold said. "At first, I was working on putting a 'Tano Lutz in my short, but it wasn't straight in the air. One day at the rink, I tried it with both arms overhead and it straightened out. I did a single, double and then a triple. It actually helped my Lutz."

Rippon, who began including the jump in his programs in 2009, isn't surprised that Gold is the first to follow in his footsteps.

"I have to thank all of my coaches, who helped me develop solid technique, especially with the Lutz," he said. "They also taught me how to think outside of the box and take risks. I'm not afraid to try new things; I'm not afraid of taking some falls.

"Gracie is gutsy like that, and I think we grew up with the same kind of Russian technique. [Rippon was coached by Yelena Sergeeva as a youngster; Gold works with Alex Ouriashev.] It takes guts to try it, and she has that kind of attack."

The two skaters engaged in a good-natured battle on Twitter, with Gold musing the move should be re-named the "Gold" Lutz and Rippon replying, "I'll be sending a bill in the mail."

Joking aside, Rippon -- who doesn't think the difficult variation gets enough respect from judges -- hopes having a top lady landing the jump helps give it a higher profile.

"Gracie is cute, nice and really hard working," he said. "I'm really happy another skater has done it, because it helps bring the element to the forefront. I'm glad someone else is doing it and I'm glad it's her."