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Ilia Malinin Triumphs in Grand Prix Final with Stellar Showing; Shoma Uno is 2nd

In the Grand Prix Final men's free skate, Malinin fell hard on his opening quadruple axel, then he responded by landing a mind-blowing five quads.

American Ilia Malinin put on a jumping exhibition on the way to winning the gold at the Grand Prix Final in Beijing on Saturday night, December 9. 

The 19-year-old landed five quadruple jumps in his free skate on the way to an easy triumph at National Indoor Stadium.

Malinin, who was third at the world championships during the 2022-23 season, beat two-time world champion Shoma Uno by more than 17 points with a total score of 314.66. Uno fought hard but came up short with 297.34 to get the silver, while his compatriot Yuma Kagiyama claimed the bronze with 288.65.

Grand Prix Final
Grand Prix Final men's winner Ilia Malinin (center), silver medalist Shoma Uno (left) and third-place finisher Yuma Kagiyama display their medals. (KYODO)

France's Adam Siao Him Fa, the top scorer during the GP season, rebounded from a rough short program to take fourth with 278.28. An ill Kao Miura skated gamely but ended up fifth at 261.53, while France's Kevin Aymoz, who was injured, was sixth on 219.91.

Malinin skated to "Succession" and fell hard on his opening quadruple axel. The young star didn't let it set him back, however, and he responded by landing a mind-blowing five quads and added three triples.

He posted level fours on two of his spins and a level three on his step sequence and made more history with his quad loop that made him the first skater to land all six types of quads successfully in competition. The young phenom also established new personal bests for the free skate (207.76) and total score.

Grand Prix Final
Ilia Malinin (KYODO)

An 'Amazing' Feeling for the Grand Prix Final Winner

"I am feeling just amazing," Malinin stated. "There are no words for what just happened. I'm still trying to express [myself] and think of what is going on. It's an incredible feeling and I have never felt like this before."

Added Malinin, "When I came here, I was really just in such a great mood to skate, but coming here and knowing I had to trust my training and all the hours I have put in. I'm really glad I put it out here."

Grand Prix Final
Shoma Uno competes in the men's free skate. (KYODO)

Uno Pleased with His GP Season

Uno, who was hit with four quarter rotation short marks on his jumps at the NHK Trophy in November, received three more this night, including on two of his four quads and singled a triple axel in his skate to "Timelapse" and "Spiegel im Spiegel." The 25-year-old Uno did land three triples, but managed only one level four on his spins. He did get a level four on his step sequence.

"As for my short and free, I think my performance was good," Uno commented. "Some of the jumps were not perfect. Today was the end of the Final and I feel relieved and happy. I am quite happy with this Grand Prix season."

Grand Prix Final
Yuma Kagiyama (KYODO)

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Kagiyama's Comeback Continues with Fine Showing

Kagiyama, who missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury, doubled his opening quad salchow to "Rain, in Your Black Eyes," but did hit a quad toe loop and seven triples on his way to making the podium. The 20-year-old received level fours on all of his spins and step sequence in yet another outstanding performance.

"Compared with my short program I was more nervous," Kagiyama remarked. "I had a small mistake at the beginning with the salchow and got a little worried, but soon I made adjustments."

Grand Prix Final
Kao Miura in action in the men's free skate. (KYODO)

Miura Competes in Free Skate Despite Illness

Miura, who was unable to practice the past two days due to a stomach ailment, gutted it out in his free skate to the "Attack On Titan" soundtrack. The 18-year-old was clearly not feeling well and his scorecard reflected it. He managed to land three quads and four triples. But his grades of execution were well off due to his condition.

Miura did not speak to the media after his performance.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.


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