‘Quadg0d’ Malinin wins Skate America title with quad axel in senior Grand Prix debut

Ilia Malinin was unsure if he would reveal his quad axel, the most difficult jump in figure skating which he was the only one to land in competition, after a short program for fourth place left him catching up at Skate America in Norwood, Mass.

Not only did he try it, but the 17-year-old American phenom pulled it off almost perfectly.

Malinin’s brilliant quad axel, along with four other quads packed into a spirited free skate on Saturday night, was enough to lift him past Japan’s Kao Miura and onto the top step of the podium on his senior Grand Prix debut. Malinin finished with 280.37 points, more than seven ahead of Miura and well ahead of third place Cha Jun-hwan of South Korea.

« This morning I wasn’t really sure if I was going to try or not, » Malinin said, « but I think it just came to mind: ‘Everybody’s watching. I have to go. So I rushed, I landed and I was in shock. The whole building was screaming.

WATCH | Malinin becomes the youngest man to win Skate America:

Ilia Malinin becomes the youngest man to win Skate America

17-year-old Ilia Malinin of the United States wins the Skate America men’s title with a total score of 280.37.

Malinin landed the first quad axel at a lower tier event in Lake Placid, New York, but he didn’t commit when asked to release it at Skate America. A shaky short program may have convinced him to give it a shot, and he not only landed it, he did it with near-perfect execution scores.

He hadn’t finished either.

Malinin followed with a quad toe loop, quad lutz, quad salchow and another quad lutz, combined with a triple salchow which he finally landed on. But with an almost sheepish smile, Malinin got to his feet and curled a triple flip-triple toe curl and a triple lutz-triple axel that earned him a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.

Miura, who like Malinin is just 17, fell on his opening quadruple loop and had a negative execution rating on his triple axel, possibly costing him the top step from the podium. He finished with 273.19 points.

Canadian Roman Sadovsky finished fifth with 225.41 points, one spot ahead of compatriot Wesley Chiu (219.90).

Canadians Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps win silver

In the pairs competition, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier scored 201.39 points to win Skate America for the second time in three years. The Americans were followed by the Canadian duos of Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who scored 197.89 points, and Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Ethier, who finished a distant third with 156.94 points.

« You have to start somewhere and for us it’s here, » Knierim said, « and we’re going to keep growing and building. »

WATCH | Stellato-Dudek, Deschamps finish 2nd at Skate America:


Deschamps and Stellato-Dudek finish 2nd after Pairs at Skate America

The Canadian team finished only behind the American duo after a great routine.

Knierim and Frazier opened well with their signature triple twist, and they landed a clean triple toe loop-double toe loop combination. But things got a bit complicated when Knierim fell on their triple throw loop, and a side-by-side triple salchow turned into a double salchow, lowering the base value of their program.

It was good enough to win Skate America. But there is still a long way to go before Knierim and Frazier compete again in the MK John Wilson Trophy, which has replaced the Cup of China in the Grand Prix calendar.

« I think it gives us a lot of confidence to know that we can always bring it out on the biggest stage, » Frazier said. « Alexa and I are so confident that when we have to fight, on a night like tonight, we’re going to get through it. »

WATCH | Quebecers Ethier and Laurin finish strong to win bronze:


Quebecers Ethier and Laurin take 3rd place as a couple at Skate America

The Canadian duo finished strong to take third place.

American ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Japanese women’s world champion Kaori Sakamoto took the lead after their opening performances. The medals for these events will be decided on Sunday.

Chock and Bates, who finished fourth at the Beijing Olympics, scored 82.63 points for their rumba, despite some errors in the program. They struggled during their spinning lift and Bates bobbled his twizzle.

It was still enough to edge American teammates Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, silver medalists at Skate America two years ago, who scored 79.12 points. Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain le Gac finished third with 72.12 points.

« It was a super fun performance for us, » Chock said. « The music brings so much energy and the crowd was fantastic. »

Sakamoto leads the women’s short program

In the women’s event, Sakamoto swung through a Janet Jackson medley to score 71.72, although the Olympic bronze medalist followed up her triple flip with a double toe loop rather than another triple.

Sakamoto has a slim lead heading into Sunday’s free skate over 15-year-old American Isabeau Levito, who scored 71.30 points in her senior Grand Prix debut. The highlight was a big opening triple flip, although she underwrote a triple loop on her triple-triple combination later in the program and that was enough to drop her in second place.

Levito’s teammate Amber Glenn was third with 68.42 points.

« I was mostly hoping to skate really well, emotionally, and just look back and be happy with it, be happy, even if it wasn’t perfect, » Levito said, « and it wasn’t perfect today. , but I felt good afterwards, so I kind of achieved my goal.

Watch live coverage of Skate America on CBCSports.ca, CBC Gem and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android. The action continues on Sunday.

WATCH | Stellato-Dudek, Deschamps of Canada finish 2nd in the short program:
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Canada’s Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps take 2nd place after pairs short program at Skate America

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps scored 73.05 after the short skate. and sit in second place at Skate America in Norwood, Massachusetts.

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