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Rising Star Ilia Malinin Debuts in Senor Grand Prix at Skate America

by Liz Leamy



(19 October 2022)  Ilia Malinin, the 2022 U.S. silver medalist and 2022 World Junior Champion who made history last September when he landed the first-ever ratified quad Axel at the 2022 CS U.S. Classic in Lake Placid, New York, is as amped as ever on making a mark at Skate America, the first of six ISU Championship Grand Prix events that will be held at the Skating Club of Boston in Norwood Massachusetts.

For this 17 year-old jumping sensation, who lives and trains in northern Virginia, the goal is to skate well at this esteemed Boston-based event in order to build points to qualify for the ISU Championship Grand Prix Final, to be held in Turin, Italy in December.

“I want to perform really well and consistently so it’s give me the best shot at the final. My goal is to hopefully skate as best as possible in every competition and to stay clean and consistent,” said Malinin, who placed ninth at the 2022 World Championships in Montpellier, France and trains in Reston, Virginia with his parents, Tatiana Malinina and Roman Skorniakov, former internationally ranked Uzbekistani singles skaters. “In general, I [also] want to try to improve my choreography and competition score. I’m really focusing on the second score, so hopefully by the end of the season, I’ll have a huge improvement over last year.”

Certainly, the incredible trajectory of this talented athlete over the past four years is staggering, to say the least.

Over this abbreviated period of time, Malinin, who also works with Rafael Aruytyunyan in Irvine, California during school breaks, has catapulted from being a lead U.S. junior skater to a premier global status.

Ilia Malinin with his parents , Tatiana Malinina and Roman Skorniakov who were Uzbekistani world singles skaters, at the 2019 U.S. Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid, New York when he was 13 years old.

The handwriting seemed to be on the wall even back in 2019, Malinin, who lives in Vienna, Virginia with his family and attends George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, as he was in the midst of building his competitive resume at the national and world level.

That season, Malinin, then 13, placed fourth at the 2019 ISU U.S. Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid and was seventh at the 2019 ISU Junior Grand Prix in Italy.

Recognized to be an incredible jumper even at that point, Malinin’s technical arsenal included a triple Axel, triple Salchow, triple toe loop, triple loop, triple flip and triple Lutz, all of which were defined by lightning-quick rotation, excellent height, good air positions and smooth and fast edges on the takeoffs and landings, the same characteristics for which these elements, including the quads, are known for today.

Over the next few seasons, Malinin further developed his skating standard, efforts that in turn rendered him even higher results on the American and world stages.

During the 2020 season, Malinin, then 14, placed fifth at the 2020 ISU Skate America, second at the 2020 Eastern U.S. Sectional Championships in the junior division and 16th at the 2020 World Junior Championships.

In 2021, Malinin, then 15, continued this terrific momentum, claiming first at the 2021 ISU Junior Grand Prix Austria and at the 2021 ISU Junior Grand Prix France competitions as well as bronze at the 2021 CS Cup of Austria.  

In 2022 at age 16, Malinin proceeded to make an indelible mark on the senior-level scene domestically and internationally, scoring silver at the 2022 U.S. Championships, gold at the 2022 World Junior Championships and gold at the 2022 CS U.S. Classic in Lake Placid where he made history for his successful execution of the quad Axel.

“I started practicing my triple Axel a lot so it was easy and consistent. From there, we just used the pole harness and it led me to a lot of attempts and then I landed it and was really happy. Then I landed it in competition,” said Malinin, describing his experience of getting the quad Axel. “I’m super happy about that goal and just hope I can keep landing it this season.”

Going into Skate America, Malinin said he is excited to perform on the American stage at such a big event.

This season, Malinin is skating to ‘I Put a Spell on You’ by Jay Hawkins and performed by Garou for his short program, a routine created by Juris Razgulajevs and  Labrinth’s ‘Euphoria’ for his free skate, choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, both endeavors of which he is looking forward to.

Determined to have another benchmark season, Malinin has been training as intensively as ever.

Each week, Malinin practices on the ice almost daily, spending nearly five hours everyday training his programs and working on his jumps, spins and skating skills that including edge drills, crossovers and footwork.

“I also do my skating programs without jumps and spins just to see how the choreography looks and if there needs to be any changes,” said Malinin. “I think this is really helping me.”

Asked further about the impact landing the quad Axel at the CS U.S. Classic last September, Malinin said it gave him a big boost of confidence.

“It helped me realize I do have the possibility of pulling it out in competition when there’s a lot of nerves, a lot of stress, so I think I’ll keep putting it in this season and over time, it will come to be pretty consistent,” said Malinin.

Going forward, Malinin said he is just taking things a day at a time with the intention of continuing to keep bettering his skating technically and artistically.

“I’m focusing on myself and doing what I known best and focusing on my training,” said Malinin. “I just [want to] be confident in my training and put it out in competition.”