Ilia Malinin became the third American man to win a world junior figure skating title in the last six years, routing the field in Tallinn, Estonia, this week.
Malinin, who was second at the senior U.S. Championships in January and left off the three-man Olympic team, totaled 276.11 points with four quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate.
The 17-year-old prevailed by 41.8 points over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Shaidorov, the largest junior men’s margin of victory since the points-based judging system was introduced in 2005. He shattered the record margin of 17.12 points set by Adam Rippon in 2009.
Malinin also shattered the record for margin of victory in any discipline at junior worlds set by Yuna Kim in 2006 (24.19 points).
After Rippon, Americans again claimed the world junior title in 2013 (Josh Farris), 2017 (Vincent Zhou) and 2019 (Tomoki Hiwatashi).
Olympic champion Nathan Chen‘s best finish at junior worlds was third in 2014, though he would have been the favorite in 2016 if he didn’t have to withdraw with an injury.
With Chen and Zhou undecided on competing next season (or at all moving forward), Malinin could soon be the top U.S. man on the senior level.
Malinin entered worlds with the best total score this season of any junior man, according to SkatingScores.com. Russians occupied the second, fourth and fifth spots, but were barred from competing due to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
Malinin finished ninth at last month’s senior worlds.
Earlier Saturday, U.S. senior bronze medalist Isabeau Levito topped the women’s short program with 72.50 points in a field lacking the world’s best from Russia.
Levito takes a 3.12-point lead into Sunday’s free skate, looking to become the first American woman to win a world junior or senior title since Rachael Flatt took the junior crown in 2008.
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