Our Heads Are Spinning: U.S. Skater Nailed First 'Quadruple Lutz'

Oct 27, 2011
Originally published on November 3, 2011 8:24 pm

The sports channel in our brains was tuned to baseball and the World Series yesterday, so we missed this announcement from the world of figure skating:

The International Skating Union has confirmed that Brandon Mroz of the U.S. "performed a quadruple Lutz on September 16, 2011 during the Colorado Springs Invitational, a U.S. Figure Skating sanctioned Event. This is reportedly the first quadruble Lutz performed in any sanctioned competition."

There's video of the moment here.

Now for those of you (like us) who aren't sure about what Mroz did, here's the definition of a Lutz jump, courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating:

"A toe-pick-assisted jump taken off from a back outside edge and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. The skater glides backward on a wide curve, taps his toe pick into the ice, and rotates in the opposite direction of the curve. The jump is named for its inventor, Alois Lutz."

And the quadruple part means he completed "4 or more, but less than 5, revolutions in the air." Plus, he landed cleanly on that opposite foot. Others, including American Michael Weiss, have attempted the quad Lutz in competition — but landed on both feet.

Mroz, who turns 21 in December, is from St. Louis and trains in Colorado Springs.

He's due to talk with All Things Considered host Melissa Block later today. We'll update with a highlight or two from their conversation.

Update at 3 p.m. ET. "Oh Man, I'm Up!"

Mroz was just on the phone with Melissa, who asked if he knew right away that he'd successfully nailed the quad.

Mroz said "it kind of took me off by surprise. ... I hit it so perfectly and I was just, like, 'oh man, I'm up!' "

He was so surprised, in fact, that he forgot to do the triple jump that was supposed to follow.

Much more from their conversation is due on today's All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, we'll add the as-broadcast version of the interview to the top of this post.

(H/T to NPR's Howard Berkes.)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Twenty-year-old figure skater, Brandon Mroz, has made history. He is the first skater to land a quadruple lutz jump in a sanctioned competition.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: He executed that jump back on September 16th. And yesterday, the International Skating Union officially recognized and confirmed it. Brandon Mroz joins me from the World Arena in Colorado Springs. Brandon, congratulations.

BRANDON MROZ: Thank you. Thank you.

BLOCK: You know, I was watching that video. We have it up on our website, npr.org. You were skating to "Mack the Knife." You make it look so easy. Were you nervous going into that quad?

MROZ: I was a little bit. I've been doing it in training and it's obviously relatively new and - I don't know - it was just the unknown factor in trying it, but I don't know. I've always been a risk taker, so I was glad to try.

BLOCK: Did you know right away that you nailed it?

MROZ: I did not, actually. Like, it kind of took me off by surprise. I hit it so perfectly and I was just like, oh, man, I'm up.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: Here's one thing I'm trying to figure out. Skaters have been landing quadruple jumps in competition going all the way back now to 1988. Right? Toe loops and salchows, but not the quadruple lutz. Why is it harder?

MROZ: I don't say it's harder, just a different take-off. I think the quad lutz demands a little bit more. I've been doing quad toe for three years or more. And what makes the lutz so tricky is that it's a backward take-off. A lot of the other jumps, you're taking off forward, but the lutz is taking off from a backward edge and you're taking off backwards. So, the lutz is definitely a tricky jump and I think that's why no one's really done it yet. And I'm probably one of the first to break history.

BLOCK: Brandon, there would be people listening to us talk about this who would say, you know, competitive figure skating is too much about jumps right now and not enough about aesthetics. Do you think they have a point?

MROZ: That is a very good question. I think, with skating, there's a lot of controversy about that. I think that it takes two. Skating is about the other stuff and, you know, about maybe the art. But I don't know, I think, for guys' skating, that it is a little more athletic than the women's because I think people watch, you know, female skaters and they're very, you know, pretty on the ice and that's more for the art. But I think, for men - at least for me as a skater - I love the jumps and I love being an athlete, you know, doing tricks.

BLOCK: You know, Brandon, a while back, it would have been that quadruple jumps were something that nobody could do. People do them all the time now. Do you imagine that pretty soon we'll be talking about quintuple jumps, that that's coming?

MROZ: There could be, maybe.

BLOCK: Yeah?

MROZ: It's definitely - a quintuple would be tough. I mean, I'm wicked fast at rotating, but I haven't got the - maybe I'll have to try one and let you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: Please. Would you call me and let me know?

MROZ: Well, yeah. Definitely. I don't know. It's interesting to see that a new quad's been done and, let alone, by me. And, you know, for future generations to come and how I can inspire, you know, new skaters and - I don't know - inspire, maybe, the sport to take another step, you know, push the sport a little.

BLOCK: Another leap.

MROZ: Yeah, another leap. That's what it's all about. I'd love to leave, like, a little bit of a legacy and push the sport.

BLOCK: Well, Brandon, we'll be watching. Congratulations again.

MROZ: Thank you so much. Thanks for your time. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.