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“Gold on Ice” was pure gold!

By Pamela Jones Morris, Team FSO contributing writer

Fresh off their podiums at the 2024 World Figure Skating Championships last month in Montreal, recently crowned 2024 World medalists and other notable and up-and-coming skaters performed in “Gold on Ice” at the ION Arena in Leesburg, VA. The headliner of the April 19 show was Ilia Malinin, the 2024 World Men’s Champion and self-proclaimed “Quad God” who skates in nearby Reston, VA and was the concept creator of the show, along with his agent, Ari Zakarian.

To get the crowd excited and kick off the show, Olympian and Canadian Champion Keegan Messing raced around the rink in speed skates while ION’s Luiz Taifas welcomed everyone and described the show as a celebration of Ilia’s victory and historic achievement at Worlds. Luiz then introduced the show’s host and announcer, Olympian and two-U.S. Champion
Gracie Gold.

Opening the show was the Capitol Theatre on Ice, a talented local ice theatre on ice team that performed an interesting program to the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby.”

Next to perform was Malinin, skating his popular “Malagueña” short program from this season where he made a quadruple toe, triple Lutz, and triple Axel look effortless. Upon completing his program, a breathless Malinin took the mic and introduced the next skater, his little sister Liza, who skated an adorable cat number, complete with two double Lutzes and a double flip. At such a young age, Liza shows promising presentation skills.

The Israeli ice dance team of Elizabeth Tkachenko and Alexei Killiakov, the World Junior silver medalists, who train at the ION Arena, skated a fabulously choreographed and entertaining program to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Performing to “East of Eden,” music made popular by Michelle Kwan, was 2019 World Junior bronze medalist, Ting Cui. Her graceful program included a triple toe and a triple salchow, and like Michelle Kwan, a long forward change of edge spiral.

Skating next with amazing speed was  Messing. He was a clear standout with a beautiful triple Lutz, a deep outside spread eagle that covered half of the ice, super-fast spins, and the best backflip in the business, landing it on one leg. His skating skills clearly haven’t declined since his retirement from competition last year.

U.S. Novice Champion Skylar Lautowa-Peguero showed her skills and promise, landing two triples and a double Axel.

2022 World Junior bronze medalist Lindsay Thorngren performed her ‘Windmills’ short program from thisseason, landing an easy triple flip and Lutz, and displaying her exceptional flexibility in her spins and spirals.

The Capitol Theatre on Ice skated their second number to ‘I’ll Be Pushing On” that included double jumps, formations, spins, and lifts.

French acrobatic skater Clement Panel closed the first half, amazing the crowd by skating and performing backflips while spinning, throwing, and juggling various fire batons.

The second half of the show opened with local skater and U.S. Junior Nationals competitor Sofia Bezkorovainaya, performing a program that included two impressive triples and a double Axel.

Donovan Carrillo, a fan favorite from Mexico who placed 15 at the 2024 World Championships, never disappoints. With his music and costume keeping true to his Mexican roots, he showcased his charisma and dynamic performance quality that included a triple Axel and triple Salchow, as well as his signature A-frame spin. Carrillo shows much promise and is regarded as one to watch in the future.

Local skater and 2024 U.S. pewter medalist Sarah Everhardt performed a solid, bluesy program that included a triple Lutz, triple toe and double Axel. She trains alongside “Quad God” Ilia Malinin, and based on her fourth place finish at Nationals, is also regarded as one to watch.

Keegan Messing’s second number was as energetic and entertaining as his first, including more backflips, fast spins, and his unique jump off the boards.

Two-time U.S silver medalist and Olympian Polina Edmunds skated a beautiful program to “Ave Maria” that included a triple loop, double Axel, beautiful spins and spirals, and her now famous long-running twizzles.

Next to perform was another acrobatic skater, Sebastian Menedez, who skated a Spiderman themed program filled with aerials, twists, and more backflips.

The recently crowned 2024 World Pairs Champions, Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, skating to “When a Man Loves a Woman,” demonstrated their speed and skill with a clean throw triple Salchow and difficult lifts, including a one-handed star lift where Deschamps changed positions and circled the entire rink. Prompting gasps from the crowd, they concluded with the ever-popular and dangerous “head banger” pair element.

Skating an ethereal and beautifully choreographed program to Lana Del Ray was 2024 World silver medalist Isabeau Levito. Her triple Lutz, double Axel, and double flip had wonderful flow and run out on the landings, and she skated with wonderful grace, artistry, and flexibility in her spins, spirals, and connecting steps.

U.S. and World ice dance champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates skated a gorgeously moving and mesmerizing program to “Once I was Loved,” a program they debuted recently at Japan’s Stars on Ice. They uniquely integrate a long piece of chiffon fabric that they weave and wind between them as they skate, eventually letting it fall to the ice.

For his second performance, Ilia Malinin performed his brilliant new program to NF’s song “Hope.” Keeping the choreography consistent with the rap song, Malinin interpreted the music masterfully while peppering the program with quad and triple jumps as well as other unique jumps, a huge aerial, and his signature “Raspberry Twist.”

To close the show, the full cast skated a group number to John Lennon’s “Imagine” in honor of those who died in the recent Baltimore bridge collapse. The cast then skated to two more songs with Ilia leading the group choreography, and where they each featured their individual unique lifts, jumps, or spins.

As Zakarian was thanking the crowd and the skaters were taking their bows, Philip Warren, another show skater and fan favorite, was introduced and helped out onto the ice by Deschamps. Sadly, Warren was unable to participate in the show after breaking his tibia during show practice. He posted a message on Instagram stating that he will need surgery and most likely be off the ice for 5-6 months. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him skating again next season.

Gold on Ice was a fantastic event with a huge roster of talent, showcasing many high-level and accomplished skaters. The show was well attended as it was mentioned by local press and TV stations and was heavily promoted on social media. This is the second post-season show hosted by ION. In June 2023, the venue held “Fire on Ice” featuring Malinin, Gold, and Messing, with live music performed by the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. We hope ION continues this post-season
tradition and look forward to next year’s show.

See full show below recorded by Jordan Cowan of On Ice Perspectives