‘Quad God’ Ilia Malinin (USA) hit a spectacular quadruple Axel on his way to gold at Skate America. Kao Miura of Japan earned the silver medal and Korea’s Junhwan Cha claimed the bronze.
Skating to “Euphoria” by Labrinth, Malinin opened his performance with a spectacular quadruple Axel and reeled off a quad toe, quad Lutz, quad Salchow and a triple Lutz-triple Axel combination.
The only error came when he under-rotated both jumps in his quad Lutz-Euler triple Salchow combination and fell. The 2022 ISU World Junior Champion posted a personal best of 194.29 points and racked up 280.37 points overall to move up from fourth place in the Short Program to first after the Free Skate. Malinin was competing in his first ‘real’ ISU Grand Prix event as the 2020 edition was held as a domestic competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I felt great, it was a really good skate. I’m still in shock,” Malinin said.
“I just know that I trusted my practice and it worked well. It was very important to forget what I did yesterday (in the Short Program) and just focus on the long. I was really well prepared going into the long. That gave me the confidence to try the quad Axel and I was able to pull it off. I was very happy with how I landed it. I just have to keep that same confidence with every competition I do.”
Top of the leaderboard overnight, Miura missed his opening quad loop, but recovered to land a quad toe-triple toe, a quad Salchow and another quad toe as well as a triple Axel-double Axel sequence. He also stepped out of another triple Axel. The 2022 ISU Four Continents bronze medalist picked up a personal best of 178.23 points and slipped from first to second at 273.19 points.
“I was in top form coming in so I was able to do very well here. I know there were some mistakes and that will give me something to work on for my next competition,” the Japanese skater told the press.
“My next competition is [next weekend’s] Skate Canada and it is the first time for me to do two overseas Grand Prix. I learned a lot here and hope to use it at Skate Canada.”
Cha’s James Bond routine was highlighted by a quadruple Salchow, quadruple toe loop, triple Lutz-triple loop combination and three more clean triples, but he crashed on an under-rotated triple Axel. The 2022 ISU Four Continents Champion scored 169.61 points and dropped one spot to third on 264.05 points.
“It was not perfect and it was not what I wanted, but tried hard and I’m quite satisfied,” the Korean Champion noted.
“I can work on my mistakes for next Grand Prix [the NHK Trophy in Sapporo (JPN)]. I learned a lot of things yesterday and today and I want to work a lot more on my jumps and spins and to have more energy in my program.”
2022 ISU European silver medalist Daniel Grassl (ITA) landed a quad Lutz and flip, but nevertheless slipped from third to fourth (257.67 points). Roman Sadovsky (CAN) placed fifth (225.41 points) ahead of Wesley Chiu (CAN) on 219.90 points.