Ilia Malinin © Melanie Heaney/U.S. Figure Skating

Ilia Malinin at Skate America

22 October 2023


Ilia Malinin won his second title at Skate America. he shared his impressions about the competition with the attending journalists.


About his programs

Ilia : One of the most significant differences in my programs this year compared to last year is that they are much more challenging. They involve more complex movements, jumps, spins, and choreography. Both of these programs have a different style than what I've been doing in the last couple of years, but I'm comfortable embracing these new styles. My short program has a Spanish theme. It's a very enjoyable program for me as it's energetic and fast-paced. The theme is more serious in my long program, but when I'm on the ice, I like to feel the music and interpret what the musicians want to convey.


About improving the component score

Ilia : I have been taking a dance class to improve my foundational skills for artistry. This includes working on flexibility, coordination, and refining the lines to make them appear cleaner and more elegant. In the next few years, I plan to allocate more time to revisit California to work extensively with Shae-Lynn Bourne. It is challenging to work effectively via Zoom. In-person sessions allow me to closely observe her movements and adapt them to my style and body more effectively.


About including the quad loop and quad Axel in his programs

Ilia : In the future, I am planning to add them both. But in the Grand Prix series, I want to play it safer to ensure I have the best chance to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. That's my main goal. However, after the Grand Prix or at the Grand Prix Final, I will consider adding them both.


About the value of the quad Axel

Ilia : It makes more sense to do triple axels because the quad Axel's base value is not where it should be. I sometimes take that risk and go for it, not just for the added reward you get for GOE but also for the audience because that's my signature move. Everyone wants to see it. I keep practicing it, and hopefully, I'll add the quad Axel in the long program later in the season.


About moving to California to work with Rafael Arutunian

Ilia : As of right now, we're not sure whether we'll move or not. Being in California, where Shae-Lynn is too, could be a beneficial option. It could be advantageous to move there and work closely with her because our primary focus for the next couple of years is to refine the second mark.


About college

Ilia : I've just started college at George Mason University. I'm currently taking only two courses. I'm now keeping it part-time because I want to prioritize my training. However, I also want to continue my education. Over the next few years, I'll gradually take on more courses.


About the Raspberry Twist (video)

Ilia : It is a butterfly with a single twist in the middle. Many skaters have done it in shows and a few in competitions, but I initially thought I was the first to attempt it on ice. However, after viewing videos, I realized that skaters had performed it long before me. I've included the B twist in my programs because it adds a unique flair and aligns well with my style—controlled yet chaotic. The way the move syncs with the music captivates me; it's almost goosebump-inducing when I view it from an outsider's perspective. I've called it the raspberry twist, as my last name means raspberry in Russian. One day during practice, while I was experimenting with the size of my butterfly, the idea of adding a twist came to me. I could execute the move off-ice mainly due to my background in gymnastics, which gave me a strong acrobatic foundation. Initially, attempting the move was intimidating due to the uncertainty of its outcome—whether I could control my head or if something might go wrong. However, I realized its potential the first time I successfully performed it. Since then, I've continued to practice it rigorously, and now it has become quite consistent.

Solène MATHIEU - Skate Info Glace