Ilia Malinin: “I have a goal of staying at the top in every competitions”

Posted on 2024-05-19 • No comments yet


Translation of Ilia Malinin’s interview for GQ Japan.

original source: dd. 16th May 2024 by Kana Endo

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Here’s a translation of Ilia Malinin’s comments made in the interview for GQ Japan.

Q: Your performance in the free skate at the World Championships in March was wonderful, and it even brought tears to my eyes. What were you thinking as you skated?

Ilia Malinin: When I stood on the ice for the free skate, I had no idea what kind of performance I could deliver or what the outcome would be. But as I successfully landed each jump one after another and got further into the second half, I could feel my confidence growing. The energy from the audience and fans was amazing and really helped my performance. They gave me the energy and motivation to continue challenging myself. I remember feeling a sense of relief only after I finished my performance and checked my content and scores and realized, I finally did it.

Q: As a figure skater, you are both an athlete and an artist. Do you see yourself more as an artist or an athlete?

Ilia Malinin: Figure skating, as you say, has aspects of both expression and athleticism. Each figure skater has their own individual personality and skates in their own unique style, but personally, I think I lean more towards the athletic side right now. Training for jumps and accomplishing a quad Axel requires physical training. However, the artistic side is important when it comes to coming up with unique tricks and program compositions. I’m enjoying both, but I want to improve my expressiveness.

Q: Even from your Instagram, it’s clear that you have extraordinary physical abilities. Are there anything that you do to improve your expressive abilities?

Ilia Malinin: The key is to practice repeatedly. I focus on displaying every detail beautifully, and I review and practice many times. I delve into the story I want to tell with my skating and work on choreography, hand movements, facial expressions, etc. I also watch the performances of great skaters and study how they express themselves artistically. I am the type to learn by watching, so I often understand different ways of expressing myself by watching videos. From there, it’s a process of finding your own way of expression and facial expressions and applying them to your performance.

Q: What kind of story do you want to express in your performances?

Ilia Malinin: That depends on the music I choose. In the recent World Championships, I chose the main theme “Succession” from the drama “Media King.” The reason for that choice was first, I used this piece last season as well so I was confident with it. I decided to polish up that performance, take the motivation of “taking on a challenge,” and head into the season. The second reason is that I have a goal of staying at the top in every competition, which to me means “succession.” I chose this music with the idea that I would be able to show off all the hard work I’ve practiced and put into the competition, and continue to succeed at the top. So with this piece, what I wanted to express was a strong version of me who can stay at the top.

Q: Your Instagram account name is Quad God, and now that you have successfully completed a quadruple jump, what do you want to accomplish next?

Ilia Malinin: I always want to surprise the audience, so I’ll keep that a secret (laughs). I’m always thinking about new tricks or jumps, or completely different new things. I often think, what can I do? What are my limits?

Q: You became the world’s top skater at 19. Do you have any advice for young people who are working hard but struggling to see results?

Ilia Malinin: If you fail, don’t blame yourself. No matter what happens, it’s important to have confidence, to believe in what your coach or other trusted people say, and what you’ve done. Don’t give up on your dreams or goals, not just in sports. Keep taking small steps and keep listening to the advice of those around you, and I believe your dreams will come true. It might be hard to have confidence, but with lots of practice and effort, you will naturally gain confidence. Then, even when you’re not in good condition, you will be able to control yourself without getting nervous.

Q: We are looking forward to the next Winter Olympics.

Ilia Malinin: My next aim is definitely to go to the Olympics in Milan/Cortina, Italy. I will make every effort to gain the right to compete, and hopefully stand at the top there.”


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