18-Year-Old Virginia Native Wins U.S. Men's Figure Skating Championship
Congratulations, Ilia Malinin!
A Virginia teenager is making history on the ice skating rink. 18-year-old Ilia Malinin is the first skater to ever land a quadruple axel in competition, a feat he pulled off for the first time last year. Now, CNN reports that the teen has won his first U.S. figure skating championship, even besting a two-time Olympian for the title.
Malinin took the gold even though he was unable to nail what has become his signature jump, the ambitious quadruple axel. Despite missing that mark, the Fairfax teen landed several other quad jumps and finished 10.43 points ahead of two-time Olympian Jason Brown to take the top prize. It was another laurel in the cap of the up-and-coming skate champion.
Malinin got his start hanging around the rinks where his parents, retired Olympic figure skaters for Uzbekistan, coach, per NBC Sports. His parents didn’t expect him to follow them on to the ice, but after twirling around the rink for fun as a six-year old, he found that he loved it.
Growing up in Virginia, he would spend his mornings at school (he graduated from Fairfax County’s George C. Marshall High School) and would then head to SkateQuest in Reston to practice his skating. He soon set his sights on mastering so-called quads, jumps that involve four mid-air spins. He gave himself the Instagram handle of “Quadg0d” as a goal and set about learning each of the jumps, the most difficult of which is the axel. That jump, which requires a 4 1/2-revolution jump, is so hard that NBC Sports analyst and longtime figure skating favorite Johnny Weir considers landing it to be ice skating’s moon landing.
On September 15 at the 2022 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Lake Placid, New York, Malinin pulled it off. Landing a quadruple Axel in competition was something no skater had managed to achieve before. Now, Malinin has pulled it off multiple times.
After winning his first gold in a U.S. figure skating championship, Malinin is now heading to the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan. This Virginia native will surely be one to watch as we move forward towards the next Winter Olympic Games in 2026.
For more Southern Living news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Southern Living.