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Explaining the Top Two Rivalries at the 2023 World Figure Skating Championships

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

With the continuation of the current figure skating season, the 2023 World Championships is underway. In figure skating, the World Championships is an annual competition sanctioned by the International Skating Union and is considered one of the highest competitive achievements in figure skating, with the exception of the Olympics. Many figure skaters value this competition, and dedicate many years of training and practice in order to qualify for this event. This year, the World Championships are being held in Saitama, Japan and has have recently begun, featuring qualifying skaters from around the world. In order to qualify for this prestigious event, the skaters must have placed in the top three at the Nationals Competition and must be at least fifteen years of age. This competition encompasses several disciplines including men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pairs, and ice dancing. Among the most talked about however, is the rivalry of the top two men’s skaters, Shoma Uno of Japan, and Ilia Malinin of the United States.  

Japanese figure skater Shoma Uno, began his figure skating career at the age of five and went on to compete nationally at the age of twelve, where he took home the bronze at the Japan Junior Championships. As his skating evolved, he went on to win many national and international competitions, qualifying him for various World Championships and the Olympics. Of the numerous skills required of skating, Shoma is best known for his ability to land some of the hardest jumps in figure skating, as he was the first to land the first ratified quadruple flip in an international competition. He is also a well-rounded skater who has both the artistic and technical skills to consistently wow the judges and the audience around him with his captivating programs. These skills have just recently been shown at the ongoing World Championships, as Shoma Uno placed first in the men’s short program with his beautiful artistic and technical performance to “Gravity” by John Mayer. Throughout the program, he was able to showcase his consistency by landing all of his planned jumps, while also presenting a beautiful step sequence to show off his artistic side. Overall, his short program showed his well-roundedness as a figure skater and proved his many skills to the audience, landing him a score of 104.63.   

Shoma has proved to be one of the world’s most skilled athletes, however, as in any sport, there always must be an underdog to steal the show. Ilia Malinin, AKA “Quad God” has risen to the heights of figure skating perfection in a short period of time, and at a young age. Like Shoma, Ilia began skating at the age of five and has quickly risen to fame due to his quad jumps, namely his ability to land quadruple axels. In fact, Ilia is the only person in figure skating history to have landed a jump of this magnitude. Given the title “Quad God”, Ilia has maintained a level of consistency in landing the first-ever quadruple axle in multiple competitions, allowing him to qualify and compete at the 2023 World Championships. Ilia showcased his consistency and talent through his wonderful short program to Garou’s “I Put A Spell On You”, landing him second on the podium. All around his program, Ilia maintained much height throughout his jumps and showed his technicality with his clean and concise moves. Surprisingly, Ilia did not showcase his quadruple axel in his short program, but will most likely present it during his free skate program to gain more points. Ultimately, Ilia scored a personal best of 100.38, heating up the competition between him and Shoma Uno. 

Both skaters have proven themselves to be great contenders for this elite competition, and have shown their uniqueness to the audience through their individual performances and abilities. Although Shoma Uno has yet to complete a quadruple axel, he has most definitely shown his well-roundedness as a figure skater through his beautiful artistry and concise technicality throughout his programs, but will he stay in first place throughout the rest of the competition? With Ilia having the quadruple axel up his sleeve, he has the potential to turn the competition around and take home the gold medal. Overall, this is a very close competition and both skaters have the potential to take home the gold, but who will it be? You can keep up with the 2023 World Figure Skating Championships on NBC Sports where they will be updating the results daily throughout the competition!

Sara Presas is a third year Psychology major with a minor in Business at the University of Texas at Austin and is going on her second year with Her Campus. She loves writing about pop culture, life experiences, music, and fashion. In her free time, she loves going to concerts, discovering new music, and being with friends.