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Emotionally, it’s hard to think about snow and ice right now. But the winter Olympic sports season got off to a light start this weekend with the opening of the World Cup or Grand Prix in figure skating, snowboarding and alpine and freestyle skiing. Here are the shows you need to know about:
Quad God delivered. Last month, 17-year-old American phenom Ilya Malinin became the first person to ever win a quadruple Axel in competition. As it happened with almost no fans at the low-profile event in Lake Placid, some doubters wondered if he would have the guts to attempt figure skating’s most difficult jump in front of a sellout crowd near Boston in his Grand Prix debut. Well, Malinin didn’t just try a quad Axel, he nailed it—along with four more quads during a thrilling free skate that lifted him from fourth place after a shaky short program to become the youngest man ever to win at Skate America. Read more about Malignino’s historic victory and watch his free skate here. Check out former Canadian figure skater Asher Hill’s expert review of Malignino’s performance:
WATCH | How Malinjin stacks up to past greats:
Three Canadian pairs in figure skating reached the podium. It’s been a tough few years for Canada’s figure skaters, who have won just two medals at the world championships since 2019 and were shut out of last year’s Winter Olympics. The Canadian program remains in rebuilding mode, but has produced some strong results at Skate America. In the pairs competition, Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Makime Deschamps won silver, while young Kelly Anne Laurin and Loucas Ethier won bronze. In ice dance, Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac won bronze.
Canada’s top athletes won two medals. On Friday, 19-year-old Noah Porter McLennan won silver at the opening men’s freestyle skiing World Cup in Switzerland. The only man to beat Porter McLennan, who was competing in a major aerial world championship for the second time, was reigning Olympic champion Birk Rudd of Norway. The next day at the same venue, Canada’s Jasmine Baird won bronze in the opening women’s snowboard big air World Cup.
They recognize three Canadian Olympic or Paralympic athletes who won medals in summer sports over the weekend. At the Grand Slam Judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, Kyle Reyes won gold and Shady El Nahas won bronze in the category up to 100 kilograms for men. Mel Pramble won the women’s omnium title in her category on Sunday at the Para-Cycling World Championships in France. She also won gold in the scratch race on Friday.