“Quads are too dangerous for me for the time being,” Zagitova acknowledged. “I will need to prepare for them physically and mentally. I will also need to lose some weight, something like three kilos, to decrease the risk of injuries.
“If it’s really necessary for me to land a quad, I may train for landing one. But it will be difficult. It won’t be a quad Salchow or a quad toe, though, as they wouldn’t be the easiest for me.”
Zagitova thought she may try to train a quad Lutz first, like another young teammate of hers is landing. Shcherbakova’s free skate this season includes two quad Lutzes, and she won both Skate America and Cup of China.
“Learning a quad is a question of mentality,” Gleikhengauz said. “When you are 11 or 13, you’re falling every day, as you are learning triple jumps. Then you master them. You start learning triple Axels and quads – and again you fall, fall, fall. And then you master them and you don’t fall anymore. What happens next is that you forget about falling and how to fall. When you have to learn triple Axel or quad later on, then you’re really scared about it and it may become dangerous for you.”
Zagitova, though, may be on the “Kostner route” for the time being.
“For now, I can’t skate like Carolina Kostner yet,” Zagitova said while laughing, “but I’m working at it.”
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu got off to a strong start on Friday by winning the men's short program at the NHK Trophy, the sixth ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating tournament of the season.
Earlier, compatriot Rika Kihira was second in the women's short program in front of a packed crowd at Makomanai Sekisuiheim Ice Arena on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
They are both in the hunt for a spot at next month's Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy.
Hanyu, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, scored 109.34 points, just shy of the 109.60 he posted earlier in the season en route to winning Skate Canada International, this year's second Grand Prix tournament.
"It was a little frustrating because I felt I could have done more out there," said Hanyu of a mistake-free program that included two quad jumps and a triple axel.
"I'm relieved but I know I can be better, so I feel the need for more practice."
Hanyu will take a 17.87-point lead over France's Kevin Aymoz into Saturday's free skate. Russia's Sergei Voronov was third, while Japan's Koshiro Shimada and Sota Yamamoto were sixth and seventh, respectively, in the short program.
Kostornaia took both the record and the lead from home favorite Rika Kihira, who held the previous record with 83.97 points at the World Team Trophy in April. The 16-year-old Russian scored 85.04 points to Kihira’s 79.89.
Both skaters opened with triple Axels, and each landed a triple-triple combination. But Kostornaia was graded a fraction of a point higher with every element and in the program components, and Kihira’s triple loop got a negative grade.
Chen posted a personal best of 67.21 with a routine to “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. Zagitova bested her rivals in program components with her typical edge in artistry but drew minus-5 marks across the board on a combination attempt that ended with just a single loop.
Chen’s jumps had a lower base value than many of the skaters behind her, and her program component scores were far behind Zagitova’s, but she drew solid marks on every element.
Starr Andrews was ninth, missing one of her jumps after opening with a strong triple-triple combination. Megan Wessenberg fell twice and ranked 12th.
In the women's competition, the 17-year-old Kihira, winner of last season's Grand Prix Final, claimed 79.89 points, 5.15 fewer than Russian Alena Kostornaia.
The 16-year-old Russian's 85.04 was the world's best since the judging system was revised ahead of last season. American Karen Chen placed third with 67.21 points.
"It was one of my highest scores in the short program this season," said Kihira, the defending NHK Trophy champion. "There were components I thought I did well, but at the same time, I thought I need to improve some parts."
Reigning Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova of Russia placed fourth following an error-marred program. Japan's Mako Yamashita and Yuhana Yokoi were fifth and eighth, respectively.
Yuzuru Hanyu handily won NHK Trophy on home ice in Japan on Saturday, setting up a head-to-head Grand Prix Final with American Nathan Chen. The Dec. 5-8 event takes place in Torino, Italy and will stream live for NBC Sports Gold subscribers.
Also, reigning Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova will take on three of her younger training partners at the Grand Prix Final after a bronze medal finish at NHK Trophy.
Hanyu won four Grand Prix Finals from 2013-16, and Chen won the event in 2017 and 2018. Hanyu did not compete in the Final in 2017 or 2018, but at their head-to-head battle at the world championships in March, Chen took gold to Hanyu’s silver.
But at NHK Trophy, Hanyu was untouchable in a field that included few real threats. He executed four quadruple jumps in a free skate (loop, Salchow, toe, and quad toe, triple toe in combination) that racked up 195.71 points for a total score of 305.05.
“For now I’m happy that I was able to get through, leading up the free program, stayed healthy, had no pain and no injuries. I’m also now going to the [Grand Prix] Final. I want to recover by then and do some more training and coordination to be ready for the Final,” Hanyu said through the ISU.
France’s Kevin Aymoz was second to Hanyu by 55.03 points. Aymoz makes the Grand Prix Final with his silver medal at NHK Trophy. Canada’s Roman Sadovsky took bronze with 247.50 total points.
American Jason Brown needed a bronze medal or better to have a shot at the Grand Prix Final, but a shaky short program left him eighth. He placed fourth in the free skate for a fifth place finish — but it wasn’t enough for him to get to Torino.