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Ilia Malinin Takes Lead with Historic Jump at Grand Prix Final; Shoma Uno is 2nd

In a banner performance at the Grand Prix Final, Malinin becomes the first skater to land a quadruple axel in a short program at a major international event.

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Grand Prix Final
Ilia Malinin competes in the men's short program at the Grand Prix Final on December 7, 2023, in Beijing. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Ilia Malinin Takes Lead with Historic Jump at Grand Prix Final; Shoma Uno is 2nd

Two-time world champion Shoma Uno is in second place after the short program at the Grand Prix Final in Beijing on Thursday, December 7. Uno, who is defending his title in the event, was absolutely sublime with his performance. But he was outdone by American Ilia Malinin, who landed the first quadruple axel ever in a short program at a major international competition.

Malinin is in first place with 106.90 points, with Uno a close second at 106.02. Beijing Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama was outstanding in his own right and is third with 103.72, while Kao Miura is fourth on 94.86.

France's Kevin Aymoz is fifth at 93.20, while his compatriot Adam Siao Him Fa, the top scorer during the GP season, is far back in sixth at 88.36 after doubling his opening quad lutz.

The free skate is set for Saturday night and promises to be a real show.

Malinin, who turned 19 on December 2, made history with his opening jump in his skate to "Malaguena" and followed it with a huge quad lutz/triple toe loop combination jump. He went on to hit a triple axel and earned level fours on all of his spins and step sequence.

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"I came here to surprise everyone," Malinin stated. "It was a lot of pressure on me. I knew it would be really hard for me to train it (the quad axel) and do it. Of course, hearing the audience go crazy after I landed it was a great feeling."

Added Malinin, "I will try to keep my focus, and I will probably do the quad axel again (in the free skate) and hope to show a clean performance."

Grand Prix Final
Shoma Uno (KYODO)

Uno Comes Through with Incredible Show Under Pressure

The 25-year-old Uno was brilliant in bouncing back from a disappointing result at November's NHK Trophy. He skated to "I Love You Kung Fu" and began with a nice quad flip, then hit a beautiful quad toe loop/triple toe loop combo.

Uno landed a fine triple axel as well and notched level fours on all of his spins and step sequence while exhibiting amazing speed.

Grand Prix Final
Shoma Uno skates to "I Love Kung Fu" in the men's short program. (KYODO)

"At the start, I was calmer during the NHK Trophy," Uno commented. "But after the six-minute warmup, I was quite anxious. Until it was the time for the steps, it became a performance where I just focused on calming down and jumping."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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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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