Saturday, January 18, 2014

Who's At Fault? Freestyle Etiquette .1

Today I witnessed an interesting crash between two skaters.

Visualize this: A skater is working on her double lutz. She is 'in lesson' with her coach watching from the boards. Let's call her LutzGirl. There's another skater, also in lesson, at the same end of the rink. Let's call her BackwardSkater.

LutzGirl is doing an approach to the lutz circle. She raises her pick-in leg and then BackwardSkater skates behind her, through the lutz circle.

LutzGirl's free skate rams BackwardSkater in the stomach (edit) with her skate. LutzGirl falls forward onto her knees, lets out a small scream of pain and rolls in agony onto her side. BackwardSkater is bent over moaning.

Who's at fault?

Here are some thoughts:
LutzGirl had the right of way to the lutz circle, but shouldn't her coach have been watching the area around her?
BackwardSkater did not have the right of way, but LutzGirl would do a lutz then skate to the boards and confer with her coach. So the lutz circle would be open for say 5 minutes at a time, then LutzGirl would abruptly keave the boards and do a lutz approach.
However, LutzGirl had been doing lutz approaches off and on for 15 minutes.
Neither coach called out a warning.

Again, who's at fault?

(FYI; Both skater's recovered and finished freestyle)


  1. Both skaters are at fault but for different reasons.

    Backward skater should have seen LutzGirl out of the corner of her eye, if she was indeed looking where she was going. However, LutzGirl should have also seen at least the corner of Backward skater. In this case, the coach is also at fault for not saying something.

    If LutzGirl is a lefty, this is going to be an ongoing issue because everyone hangs out in the lefty lutz corner. If she's a righty, this is a case of neither skater knowing how to share the ice.

    Glad no one was hurt. I'm guessing LutzGirl hit Backward skater with her elbow and not her free leg.

    1. LutzGirl rammed BackwardSkater in the gut with her skate. I'll have to add that.

  2. I say at this point it really doesn't matter who's at fault, unless someone's planning on suing somebody. Everybody needs to take from this, however, that you need to be more aware of your surroundings, even if you might have right of way. Coaches, too. You can't just skate backward without looking periodically. And when you're setting up a lutz, you are looking behind you until you turn and set up the jump.

  3. "LutzGirl had the right of way to the lutz circle"

    There's your answer.

    1. Normally this would trump everything, but the lutz circle isn't reserved for LutzGirl. Other skaters can use it. She just did a short set up and didn't check around her.
      (PS. I was at the opposite end of the rink and saw everything but too far away to do anything--it was fast. I think the other girl --BackSkater--may have been setting up a lutz too, but it wasn't from the usual angle.)