Ilia Malinin takes men’s world figure skating crown in record performance

Ilia Malinin, of the United States, performs his free skate in the men's competition at the figure skating world championships in Montreal, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ilia Malinin, of the United States, performs his free skate in the men’s competition at the figure skating world championships in Montreal, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL (AP) — American figure skating star Ilia Malinin is a world champion — and a world-record holder.

Malinin put on a dominant display that included a jaw-dropping six quad jumps — including his patented quad axel — to snag the men’s singles crown Saturday night at the world championships.

“I knew that this could be the best skate of my life,” Malinin said. “Or it could go terribly wrong.”

After placing third in Thursday’s short program, the 19-year-old scored a world-record 227.79 in the free program while skating to the “Succession” soundtrack to bring his total to 333.76 — more than 20 points than the rest of the field.

Olympic champion Nathan Chen, also of the United States, set the previous free program record of 224.92 in 2019.

Malinin dropped to the ice in disbelief after presenting his sheer athletics to a rowdy Bell Centre crowd that cheered and clapped the whole way.

“To hear the crowd go wild when I didn’t even finish my program yet is just an incredible experience,” Malinin said. “It was so amazing to me. I couldn’t even hold myself up, it was just that emotional to me.”

He dethroned two-time defending world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who fell to fourth at 280.85 after missing two quad jumps to start his program.

Yuma Kagiyama of Japan was second at 309.65 and Adam Siao Him Fa of France claimed the bronze at 284.39. Siao Him Fa climbed from 19th to third with an awe-inspiring display of his own, which included a backflip.

Earlier Saturday, 2022 Olympic champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States defended their ice dance world title with a season-best total score of 222.20.

Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished second at 219.68 and Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri were third at 216.52.

It’s Montreal’s first time hosting the event since 1932. The city was supposed to stage the 2020 championship but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the competition.

Boston will hold the 2025 competition.

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