Brandon Mroz lands historic quad lutz
SAPPORO, Japan -- Brandon Mroz knew he could land this jump. There wasn't video of it two months ago in Colorado and it didn't come at a major competition, but it was a legitimate jump all the same.
This time, the 20-year-old American nailed the quadruple lutz at the NHK Trophy on Saturday, the first to do so at an international competition.
"I'm excited to get it done in an international competition," Mroz said. "Getting another jump done is awesome for generations of skaters to come."
Mroz's jump came on the same day that Akiko Suzuki of Japan won the women's title. Mroz was third after the men's short program with 74.83 points. Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, the Vancouver Olympic bronze medalist, led at 90.43, followed by countryman Takahiko Kozuka at 79.77.
In ice dance, Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States rallied from third place to win their first Grand Prix title. The pairs was won by Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov of Russia.
Mroz first completed the quadruple lutz Sept. 16 at the Colorado Springs Invitational, a U.S. Figure Skating sanctioned competition. A little more than a month later, the International Skating Union gave the jump its stamp of approval.
Mroz, who lives and trains in Colorado Springs, is coached by Tom Zakrajsek. He was making his international debut at the NHK Trophy, the fourth event of this year's Grand Prix series.
Mroz opened his routine with the quadruple Lutz. The landing was not perfect, but it was on one foot.
"For me, it was little shaky, too. I was fighting," he said. "It was great to get the Lutz done. It was a step into the right direction."
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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