Ilia Malinin gave a historic roll, but it was as if he was not noticed, but the Japanese won the gold with serious mistakes. What is this?!
The World Championships in Saitama was a happy one for Japan. Two gold medals in women’s singles and pairs skating, and one more was in question. The showdown in men’s singles was fierce. Russian American Ilya Malinin claimed a crazy content of six quads, including a quadruple axel, and did not hit the dirt in the face, but it was not enough to win. It was as if the judges had not noticed his historic roll, simply robbing the student Rafael Harutyunyan.
Somehow, the Korean with only two quads and the Japanese with serious mistakes were higher. Shoma Uno took home the third highest award, defending his title and becoming a two-time world championship winner.
Jung-Hwan Chha had another roller for life. The opening salchow was so confidently executed that not one judge would dare give less than a +4 GOE for the element. Surprising unanimity, but truly deserved. Chha may be slightly behind his main competitors in base value because of two quadruplets, but this time he played everything back with ease with a quality execution. And the James Bond image sat chicly on the Korean. Probably his best performance of his career. It’s nice that Jung-hwan gives each musical accent, which makes the performance look like a whole. His 196.39 points per roll and a cosmic total of 296.03 points are new personal records for Chae. And most importantly, it is the first ever World Cup medal for South Korea in the men’s singles.
Ilia Malinin planned to kill everyone with unreal content. The American prepared six quadruple jumps for the World Championships! Unfortunately, he almost lost to the Korean. The reason was that many of the quads, including the unique axel, were performed by Malinin with non-ideal excursions. The current refereeing system does not spare even the smallest flaws, and the basic cost of a quad, of course, does not correspond to the actual effort. No one else in the world can twist that leap. And it turns out that Chha scored more with a perfect salchow… ISU just has to rethink its attitude toward difficulty. Otherwise the figure will continue to stagnate.
Ilia was undercorrected on two Lutz and a flip, so the technical score dropped by 7 points after the revision. Nothing to say about the components – the skater does not have anything between jumps. His attempts at choreography begin somewhere near the end of the free skating, when the jumps are over. 188.06 points was obviously not the result that Malinin had hoped for. Fans were shocked by the scores they saw. After all, the Russian American did six quads and a wild triple lutz – triple axel cascade in the final as well. But the mathematics of the figure is very complicated, it is dissonant with the feelings of the audience.
Only bronze is taken away by Ilya from Saitama. But he has everything ahead of him. He is only 18 years old. There is no doubt that by the 2026 Olympics in Italy he will be the main favorite.
Seema Uno after the short program had a slight advantage over the rest of the participants. In the morning training the Japanese did not do anything at all, so the skater had to defend the title of world champion on the will. Not surprisingly, Uno was not able to perform all the planned content. He got part of his jumps cut for not doing enough twists and dirty exits. He had only two of his three stunts left (he had one four-touloupee-one single toe). The high base saved the day. Any way you slice it, but five quads, Sema overcame. And components, of course. Traditionally soft Japanese slip and Bach classics, plus international prestige – 196.51 points and second consecutive victory in the world championships. Uno equaled his legendary compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu on that score (2). Spaniard Javier Fernandez and Stefan Lambiel of Switzerland also have two world championship titles under their belt.
The men’s tournament in Saitama turned out really fiery. Lots of great moves that can and should be rewatched. Despite the tough judging discussions, the final three were absolutely logical and fair. Too bad there are only three spots on the podium. At least Aimoz and Brown would not have looked superfluous on it.