Ilia Malinin Cleanly Lands Breakthrough Jump

Skating world recognizes the 17-year-old's historic quadruple axel
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2022 4:10 PM CDT
Ilia Malinin Cleanly Lands Breakthrough Jump
Ilia Malinin competes at the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series in Las Vegas in October 2020.   (AP Photo/David Becker, File)

"This is the craziest thing I've ever seen anyone do on the ice," Adam Rippon said. He'd just watched a fellow American skater, Ilia Malinin, pull off a quadruple axel—cleanly—in competition Wednesday night in Lake Placid. It was a figure skating breakthrough that the sport's stars have said recently was within reach, but Malinin, 17, was the first to do it. The jump consists of 4½ rotations in the air, from a tricky forward takeoff, per the Wall Street Journal. "It felt really good," Malinin said afterward, per the Guardian. He won the New York event, too.

For a jump to be recognized as a first, skating requires it to be performed before judges at an official event. Although there were only a few dozen witnesses in the stands, the US Classic counted. Landing the elusive quadruple axel in practice is no big deal, said Malinin, who's been working on it since last spring. "To do it in competition is a different story because you have nerves and pressure that can get in the way of that," he said. "So I have to treat it like I'm at home." In a tweet, US Figure Skating announced the achievement, declaring, "History has been made," and posting a video.

Others have tried the jump in competition, including Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who stumbled during the Beijing Olympics. On Wednesday, Malinin tried five quads, including the quad axel, in his free skate routine, per the Washington Post. He landed all but a quad Lutz, compiling a free skate score of 257.28. The sport considers Malinin a rising star, a perception supported by the videos he posts on his Instagram account—quadg0d—of his attempts at difficult jumps during practice. (More figure skating stories.)

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