Much of the American exposure to Lucinda Ruh has been through the World Championships, which, during the late 90s, meant that it was through the lens of two-time Olympic champion Dick Button. Button was never one to tamp down his excitement, and Ruh was a skater he had much to say about. At the 1999 World Championships, he coined the, perhaps inadvertent, rhyme, “Good for you, Lucinda Ruh,” after her short program.
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Related: Part 4: Coach and student
In the final part of my conversation with Ruh, we revisit her love of spins. The Lucinda spin is a variation of the sit spin more commonly known as the “pancake” position. We also talk about her thoughts on the current judging system and her interaction with the larger-than-life personality that is Dick Button.
Jackie Wong: We can’t end this interview without one last hurrah about your spins. You created a number of spins – the “pancake” spin that everyone talks about.
Lucinda Ruh: I wish they would just call it the Lucinda spin. Come on, already!
JW: To this day, there’s the Biellmann, and there’s the Hamill Camel maybe? It’s rare for a spin to be named after someone. And I’ll make a concerted effort to start calling it the Lucinda spin.
LR: At least the pancake. I had the pancake with all the different arms, I had the one on the left foot where you twist all the way. I started the side laybacks and all those things. But at least the pancake, because that’s the one that everyone does right now.
JW: That’s the one that everyone butchers as well. But what do you think about the new judging system?
LR: I really, as I’m teaching it, I’m not a big fan of it. You watch skaters compete, and you’re like, “Ok, I know exactly what combination spin she’s going to do.” You see the girls go into a forward camel for a combination, so you know exactly … they need to do an outside edge, then they need to do some sit, and then they need to do the pull up for it. It’s so predictable now.
Before, it was, “Oh my god, what spin are they going to do?” I would’ve maybe emphasized that they needed to hold the spin longer. But now with all these levels and rules, it has become so predictable and everybody has to do the same. And everyone’s forced into this box. I know that because of my spins, a lot of the rules have changed. And for that, I think it’s wonderful that there’s more emphasis on it.
But it has become just levels and points, and everyone is counting … eight rotations, ok, and then they get out. No matter how slow they are spinning, they are holding for dear life just to get that level. The creativity and the beauty of it has just disappeared for me, I’m not a big fan of it. I think it could’ve been done in so many different ways, and more successful ways, I think.
JW: Has the ISU ever come to you to get advice?
LR: No, unfortunately not, I would love it if they did. They’ve used my name and my videos and all that, but unfortunately, they have not come to me personally.
JW: Well, let’s hope that happens at some point.
LR: That would be great.
JW: So, one final question – have you ever met Dick Button?
LR: Oh, of course, many, many times! Yes, I love him, he’s a wonderful person no matter what anybody says, I think he’s great. I think he says it like it is, and not only because he complimented me, I’m sure he had many things to say that he didn’t like about my jumps.
But I think he’s a wonderful person. I meet him, I talk to him a lot, so he’s someone I keep in touch with all the time. And he has endorsed my book so I’m having a book launch party, and he’s invited. It’ll be great.
JW: Fantastic. Well, Lucinda, thanks for taking your time to talk with me. Hopefully, we will see more of you and your children’s books coming up.
LR: Yeah, I’m excited for that. For sure.
JW: And there will be plenty more projects to come.
LR: Thank you so much.
Two-time World professional bronze medalist Lucinda Ruh’s book, Frozen Teardrop, comes out on November 1st.
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