The quad axel is the most elusive jump in skating. No man has ever landed a fully rotated quad axel in competition, and no woman has ever attempted one. The jump is more difficult than any other quad jump because the forward entry makes it 4.5 rotations in the air.
Yuzuru Hanyu has been chasing his dream of landing the quad axel in competition for three years. He nearly did it this past December at Japan Nationals, but he two-footed the landing and the jump was downgraded (meaning, he was short more than 1/2 of a rotation). At the 2022 Olympics, Hanyu was singularly focused on nailing the quad axel in his free skate. He fell on his attempt, but the jump was officially marked as under-rotated (less than 1/2 of a rotation short) and it became the best 4A attempt in competition by any skater.
But Hanyu looks to be soon unseated by 17-year-old American skater Ilia Malinin, who dubbed himself the Quad God with his Instagram handle. Malinin has been working hard on the quad axel in training. From the looks of his recent practice videos, he’s taken the top spot to be the first skater to land this jump in competition. In May, he posted a practice video of a clean 4A.
Former Olympic skaters flooded the comments with shock and praise. And today, Malinin posted another video of a quad axel, this one from a practice in Japan, where he’s skating in an exhibition:
Just listen to the audience react to that! He makes that look so easy. Malinin said on Instagram Live in May that he plans to put the 4A into his program for this coming skating season, which will begin in August or September (competition assignments haven’t been set yet). He said he’s working on quintuple jumps as well. This will be Malinin’s first season competing as a senior, and any time he takes the ice is going to be appointment viewing.