During the women’s free skate portion of the team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Russian figure skater Kamila Valiyeva became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics.
The 15-year-old Valiyeva completed not one, but two quads: a quad salchow and a quad toe (with a triple toe combination).
Oh, and by the way, there was also a triple axel thrown in there.
Here is a video of Valiyeva’s historic first quad:
15-year-old Kamila Valiyeva made HERSTORY tonight by becoming the first woman to land a quad jump in an Olympic competition – and she landed TWO 👏#WinterOlympics | @NBCOlympics pic.twitter.com/SqPx4flwwZ
— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) February 7, 2022
Valiyeva fell on her third quad attempt, marking the first time she has fallen on a quad in competition all season.
Valiyeva’s performance clinched gold for the Russian Olympic Committee in figure skating’s team event, though she didn’t need to provide much help. ROC trailed the United States by only one point before Valiyeva took the ice.
The United States won silver, aided by strong performance from Karen Chen and U.S. ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Japan earned bronze.
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While Valiyeva is the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics, she wasn’t the first to attempt the four-revolution jump.
Thirty years ago, French skater Surya Bonaly – known best for her backflip – attempted a quad at the 1992 Albertville Games. But Bonaly’s attempt was under-rotated, and thus, not ratified.
Bonaly told NBC Sports’ Nick Zaccardi that she landed clean quads in practice, but never fully rotated one in competition.
“I wanted to do it, not because I wanted to be the first woman to do it, but just because I know that women don’t have to just be pretty and try to do a nice spiral,” Bonaly said. “We definitely can mix both aspects of being pretty and be tough and be able to jump.”
Fourteen years later, Japanese figure skater Miki Ando attempted a quad at the 2006 Torino Winter Games. Ando fell on her attempt, and her quad was judged a triple. It is believed that – until today – Bonaly and Ando were the only two women to attempt a quad at the Winter Olympics.
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Valiyeva almost certainly would’ve accomplished the feat earlier in Beijing, except that figure skating rules prohibit women from performing quadruple jumps in the short program. Male figure skaters, however, have no similar restrictions.
“If you have female athletes who are capable of doing those quads, why are we holding them back from doing that?” 2014 Olympian and NBC Olympics correspondent Ashley Wagner told On Her Turf. “It’s a reminder that we still have a ways to go.”
While Valiyeva is the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics, she certainly won’t be the last at these Winter Olympics.
All three Russian women in Beijing – Valiyeva and 17-year-olds Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova – all have a quad in their arsenal. In fact, Trusova – nicknamed the “Quad Queen” – landed five clean quad jumps at a Russian national event in September 2021.
“Without quads, you don’t have any chances to win competitions now,” said Shcherbakova last month via Olympics.com.
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC