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Figure Skating

Ilia Malinin Bests Yuma Kagiyama to Capture the World Title

In shattering Nathan Chen's free skate record for points, Ilia Malinin had a phenomenal performance and dethroned two-time champion Shoma Uno.

It took a performance for the ages to deny Yuma Kagiyama his first world title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada, on Saturday night, March 23, and that is what American Ilia Malinin delivered.

The 19-year-old shattered the free skate record of 224.92 points set by Nathan Chen at the 2019 Grand Prix Final with 227.79, on the way to a whopping total score of 333.76 to win the gold medal. Malinin's phenomenal show included six fully rotated quadruple jumps.

A valiant effort by Kagiyama still came up more than 24 points short as the 20-year-old finished with 309.65 to get the silver. France's Adam Siao Him Fa used an epic rally to come from 19th after the short program all the way to claim the bronze at 284.39.

Ilia Malinin
Men's gold medalist Ilia Malinin (center), runner-up Yuma Kagiyama (left) and third-place finisher Adam Siao Him Fa wear their world championships medals after the competition ended. (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Two-time world champion Shoma Uno finished off the podium in fourth place on 280.85 after falling on his first two jumps. American Jason Brown came in fifth with 274.33.

Kao Miura moved up to finish eighth at 254.72 after being 10th following the short program.

Ilia Malinin
Ilia Malinin exhibits exceptional jumping ability in his free skate. (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Ilia Malinin Delivers a Mind-Blowing Performance

Malinin's historic outing to "Succession" began with a humongous quad axel, which he followed with a quad lutz, quad loop and quad salchow. The 2024 GP Final titlist went on to add another quad lutz and a quad toe loop, while also hitting four triples.

The young star received level fours on two of his spins and his step sequence. His mind-blowing outing will surely install him as the favorite for the gold at the 2026 Olympics.

"I'm just so happy to be here now," Malinin stated after his victory. "The last few weeks I had so many problems physically and mentally. I want to thank the crowd here for cheering me on."

Added Malinin, "There was a little voice in my head saying, 'No matter what you have to keep fighting, to keep going, no matter how bad or good you feel you just have to know what you're capable of and stick to the training you have been through.' "

Yuma Kagiyama competes in the men's free skate. (KYODO)

Kagiyama Rebounds From Fall on Triple Axel Landing

Kagiyama skated to "Rain, in Your Black Eyes" and opened with a quad salchow, then a quad flip and a quad toe loop. He was rolling along up until the midway point of his program when his feet got tangled on the landing of his second triple axel and he fell.

The Beijing Olympic medalist bounced up and proceeded to reel off the remainder of his routine without incident, exhibiting beautiful line and edge. Kagiyama landed five triples in addition to the three quads, and posted level fours on all of his spins and step sequence.

However, so big was Malinin's margin of victory, that even if Kagiyama had not gone down on the triple axel, he still would have come in second.

"I wanted to show everything I have today," Kagiyama commented. "The warm cheers from the audience supported me throughout my performance.

"Although there was a mistake, I was able to deliver an almost perfect performance. I am pretty happy about that."

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Stellar Effort in Free Skate Catapults Siao Him Fa to Third

The 23-year-old Siao Him Fa competed to "Departure" and "The Quality of Mercy" and hit four quads and five triples, and a backflip, to come back from his poor short program on Thursday, March 21. He notched level fours on two of his spins and his step sequence.

Siao Him Fa's vault from 19th to third in the final standings represented the largest jump after the short program in the IJS era that began in 2004.

"I am very satisfied today, I think this was kind of the best performance of my life," Siao Him Fa proclaimed.

He added, "I was really angry and frustrated with myself after the short program. My coaches told me to fight and attack."

Siao Him Fa then said, "I remembered Nathan's performance at the [Pyeongchang] Olympics and that helped me a lot."

Shoma Uno (KYODO)

Mistakes Keep Uno Off the Podium

Uno's bid to become the first man to win three straight world crowns since Canada's Patrick Chan in 2011-13 was almost doomed from the outset. The 26-year-old Uno fell on his opening quad loop, then nearly went down again on the ensuing quad flip, the two miscues costing him a huge loss of points.

Uno fought back to land a pair of quad toe loops and four triples, but the damage was done. He registered level fours on all of his spins and step sequence. But even that could not get him on the podium this night.

Shoma Uno skates en route to a fourth-place finish. (KYODO)

"I was satisfied with my training coming into this event and happy with my short program," Uno remarked. "It would have been nice if the event would have ended after the short program, then I would be fully satisfied."

Added Uno, "I haven't made a decision yet if I will continue skating for another season or not."

Kao Miura performs his rendition of "Attack On Titan." (KYODO)

Miura Falls Twice in Uneven Free Skate

The 18-year-old Miura skated to the "Attack On Titan" soundtrack and fell on his opening quad loop. But he bounced back to land a quad toe loop, before falling again on a quad salchow. The two falls took the air out of a program in which Miura did hit five triples.

Miura spins also left something to be desired, as he received one level four, a level three and a level two on them. His step sequence was judged a level three.

"There isn't much to say about today's free program," Miura declared. "After reflecting on my short program, I realized I should have given it my all in today's free skate, but unfortunately I didn't achieve the result I had hoped for."

Ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates dazzle during their free dance routine. (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Chock, Bates Take Second Straight World Crown

Madison Chock and Evan Bates captured the gold in ice dance for the second year in a row with 222.20, edging out Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, who got the silver at 219.68. Italy's Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri picked up the bronze on 216.52.

Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto moved up to 18th place with 173.90 after being 20th after the short program.

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Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.

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