Ilia Malinin, the 18-year-old figure skating phenomenon from Vienna, won the bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships Saturday in Japan.
Malinin, famous for being the first skater ever to land a quadruple Axel in competition, unfurled it again at the beginning of Saturday’s concluding free skate program to become the first to do so at the world championships.
Boom. And there it is…— Team USA (@TeamUSA) March 25, 2023
Ilia Malinin lands the first quad Axel at the world championships. #WorldFigure
🎥: @NBCOlympics pic.twitter.com/WiXLG8WKMq
It was one of six quadruple jumps the young man who calls himself “quadg0d” attempted Saturday, giving himself the hardest program anyone has ever attempted at the championships, according to NBC Sports.
Malinin under-rotated a quad lutz which was part of a combination and was deducted points on a quad flip and a quad lutz, according to The Associated Press.
In the end, Malinin earned his first medal at the competition and finished behind defending champion Shoma Uno, of Japan, and Cha Jun-Hwan, the first South Korean to take a medal at the world championships.
That’s still quite an achievement for the George C. Marshall High School senior, whose parents, Roman Skorniakov and Tatiana Malinina, were both Olympic skaters for Uzbekistan. Malinin won the U.S. championship in January, and the world junior championship last year.
NBC Sports analyst Philip Hersh said the teen’s weakness came in the cleanliness of his ambitious jumps, and in the artistic scores.
“After doing a lot of these jumps — hard, difficult jumps — it’s really hard to try to perform for the audience,” Malinin told NBC Sports after his performance.
He added that some compromises might be necessary going forward: “Sometimes going for the risk, you get really good rewards, but I think that maybe sometimes it’s OK to lower the risks and try not to take as much risk and go for a lot cleaner skate.”
Still, Malinin is now the youngest American male singles skater to win a medal since 1965, and at his age, those who know him say, the sky’s the limit.
“Ilia is so respectful and shows tremendous professionalism at such a young age,” Alejandra Mueller, general manager at SkateQuest, in Reston, told Northern Virginia Magazine last year. “He’s very self-motivated and stays focused on training, and all of this attention is very new for him.”
Feature image courtesy SkateQuest
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