Quad God

Quad God

Figure skating is a sport of passion, beauty, and pressure. Even in a freezing rink, it gets heated. It is divided into four major disciplines: ladies’ freestyle/singes, men’s freestyle/singles, pairs, and ice dance. Recently, the singles disciplines of the sport are dominated by young upstarts with oftentimes ephemeral careers who hope to see the Olympics and world championships.  

After the 2022 Olympic doping scandal with Kamila Valieva and the Russian Olympic Committee, all eyes were on the renowned coach Eteri Tsubritze of Russia, who produced some of the best female skaters at the Olympics and the whole of Russian figure skating. All incredibly young for such pressure and intense performance at the time, 15-year-old Kamila Valieva was projected to go gold, but was disqualified two years later because of a doping scandal,17-year-old Anna Shcherbakova (gold), and 17-year-old Alexandra Trusova (silver). However, due to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, Russia is barred from being represented in ISU (International Skating Union) events. 

In the absence of the young female Russian skaters, the skating climate has changed dramatically. The 2023-2024 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating showed a shift not only due to the lack of Russian competition, but the caliber of skaters from other countries increasing. In the women’s freestyle discipline, Sakamoto Kaori of Japan won gold with a combined score of 225.70, with Loena Hendrickx (Belgium) in 2nd, and Yoshida Hana (Japan) in 3rd. In ice dance, the record-holding team Madison Chock and Evan Bates went gold as many expected with an Italian and a Canadian team trailing behind. Pairs skating resulted in the German pair Fabienne Hase/Volodin in 1st, Italian Conti/Macii in 2nd, and the Canadian team Stellato-Dudek/Deschamps in 3rd. 

The most eventful discipline this season was the men’s singles. Ilia Malinin, a young skater in the early stages of his senior career was the undoubted star of the season. Last year, he made history by landing the first clean (no deductions) quadruple axel in competition- something only previously attempted by the legendary Yuzuru Hanyu during his final competitive season. After this, his self-titled social media username became his common moniker: the Quad God. At this season’s World Championships, Malinin’s total score for the short and long program was 333.76- less than 2 points off from the all-time best men’s combined score. Being only 19, he will surely continue to push the bounds of physics and the human body, landing the first quintuple jumps. 

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