Ilia Malinin finally won the Grand Prix Final! In his free skating program he experienced difficulties when he fell while performing a quadruple axel, but impressed with his brilliant performance of two quadruple lutzes, a rittberger, a tulup and a salchow.
From a technical point of view, Malinin’s performance was magnificent and allowed him to defeat Japanese figure skaters Sjot
my Uno and Yuma Kagiyama. With a score of 314.66 points, Ilia came close to Nathan Chen’s world record.
Ilia Malinin was a notable highlight of the start of last season in men’s singles skating. The young American, who self-confidently dubbed himself the “God of Quads,” performed one of the most difficult jumps in the history of figure skating – the quadruple axel. He began to regularly include this element in his programs, demonstrating incredible technical progress. What the great Yuzuru Hanyu could not do, the talented pupil of Rafael Harutyunyan was able to do.
However, Malinin’s story was unusual not only because of his ice achievements, but also because of the scandals surrounding the skater’s fight against sports officials. This controversy has become a spectacle for those who are not afraid of tense scenarios.
The quadruple axel scoring controversy continues, but last year the situation became increasingly tense as Malinin received low scores despite the difficulty of his content. This was largely due to the fact that Ilia lagged behind his competitors in artistry, musicality, skate mastery and ability to showcase complex choreography. However, this did not negate the fact that the scores did not fully reflect the skater’s technical potential.
This was a stumbling block for Malinin, who decided to give up his favorite quadruple axel this season. This was not due to an injury, a decline in form, or a teenage period in his life (the American’s physical condition is excellent and he is not uncomfortable with multi-twisting jumps), but a strategic change. Malinin stated that his goal was to improve his scores in components, and he successfully achieved this. As for technique, Ilia did not compromise himself and repeatedly emphasized the pressure put on him and his team by judges, federations and other authorities.
In the final of the ISU Grand Prix the representative of the USA again amazed everyone and demonstrated that he does not leave the idea of performing the quadruple axel on a permanent basis. First, the skater successfully performed the quadt axel three times during one of the training sessions, and then decided to introduce this most difficult element not in the free skating program, as it was before, but in the short program. It was a truly exciting performance, never seen before. However, even this time it was not without controversy on the part of the judges.
The referees raised the tension by canceling a flawless jump of 4.5 turns because the technical committee was not prepared for such unexpected events. Initially it seemed to them that the skater made a gross mistake and they recognized the quadt axel as an invalid element. However, later it became clear that Malinin and his team had a deeper knowledge of the rules than the qualified judges in Beijing. According to the regulations, Ilia was obliged to successfully perform a double or triple axel (the choice was 3A), as well as any triple or quadruple jump – the last one was a 4.5-turn axel. In addition, the skater presented a cascade of quadruple lutz and triple tulup. All the rules were observed and he earned a well-deserved 106.90 points.
The figure skater did not hold back and mocked the reaction of the referees, who did not instantly appreciate the unique performance of the American.
“Honestly, it surprises me that the judges were confused by something. After all, nowhere in the rules does it say that you can’t perform a quadruple axel in the short program. It says “triple or quadruple jump.” Of course, we consulted with some judges – they assured us that this jump would be counted. I didn’t want to say much about it – I wanted to give a surprise, and I think it worked,” Malinin said after the short program.