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Ilia Malinin Wins World Figure Skating Championship with Record-Breaking Routine Set to “Succession” Theme

The 19-year-old world champion successfully completed six quadruple jumps during his free skate routine

<p>Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu via Getty</p> Ilia Malinin celebrates after free skate

Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu via Getty

Ilia Malinin celebrates after free skate
  • 19-year-old Ilia Malinin won the men's title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal on Saturday

  • Malinin's record-breaking free skate routine was set to the theme music for HBO's Succession

  • His score of 227.9 is the highest ever free skating score in the history of the competition

Ilia Malinin, a 19-year-old American figure skater, blew away his competition when he won his first world title at the 2024 World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal on Saturday.

The Fairfax, Virginia, native delivered an epic and emotional performance — set to the theme of the popular HBO series Succession — and earned a score of 227.9, the highest ever free skating score in the competition, according to CNN and The New York Times.

Malinin – whose nickname is the "Quad God" – is known for his execution of the quadruple Axel, which he landed for the first time in 2022.

Related: Kamila Valieva, Ice Skater at the Center of Olympic Doping Scandal, Dropped from Russian National Team

The complicated move was attempted by Yuzuru Hanyu in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, but the 29-year-old skater fell during his attempt in the Games, per CNN.

Malinin, meanwhile, successfully completed a quad Axel and five other quadruple jumps on Saturday. He remains the only athlete in the history of the sport to land the difficult four-and-a-half revolution jump.

After his winning performance, Malinin dropped to his knees on the ice in an emotional display.

<p>Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu via Getty</p> Ilia Manilin on the ice during his free skate

Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu via Getty

Ilia Manilin on the ice during his free skate

According to multiple reports, the young athlete had been vocal about dealing with physical and mental challenges during the championship.

Speaking to the International Skating Union after the victory, Malinin said, "The last few weeks were such a mental and physical challenge to go through. I was even debating whether I should come here or not."

He continued, "It was the last minute, but I wanted to come here to see what I can put out on the ice. I am so glad to be here on top right now.”

In an interview with WTOP, the skating champion recalled the feelings that surfaced immediately after his routine. "I was definitely feeling so many different emotions. My head was so clouded with so many emotions, so many thoughts of how I started skating," he said.

"It was almost like I was getting flashbacks of when I started skating, a lot of big moments of my skating career," he continued.

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Malinin said the win was "just incredible" and he was "in such excitement" that he could barely "hold myself up" afterward.

"It’s just so many things are happening at once," Malinin said, per WTOP. "It’s really hard for me to explain the words, but it just means so much to me that this happened. And I’m glad I was able to put all my effort into this sport, and to really get to the top of the podium here."

The selection of the Succession theme music, composed by Nicholas Britell, was popular with the live audience, and Malinin told Good Morning America on Monday that his parents, former Olympic skaters for Uzbekistan who also serve as his coaches, helped him choose the music.

Malinin said, "I was really interested to try this piece of music. It was something that I've never skated to before and it was a different style of skating, for me to try but I was looking forward to it."

Related: Canadian Ice Skater Becomes Oldest Female World Figure Skating Champion at Age 40

During the morning show segment, Malinin added, "And I think that it really helped me boost my skating ability and to really progress and how I'm able to play around with different genres to improve my skating overall."

With his win and Jason Brown's 5th-place finish, the United States will send the maximum of three men to the 2025 World Figure Skating Championships in Boston, which will determine the number of competitors at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina, Italy.

Malinin missed out on the 2022 Winter Olympics despite finishing 2nd at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The selection committee sent Nathan Chen (who won gold), Vincent Zhou and Brown to Beijing instead.

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