Ilya Malinin wins the figure skating championship with the song «Succession».

Ilya Malinin wins the figure skating championship with the song «Succession».
Ilya Malinin wins the figure skating championship with the song «Succession».

Like the plot of «Following,» Ilya Malinin’s winning program for the men’s singles competition at the World Figure Skating Championships on Saturday had many twists: six quadruple jumps that included a quadruple axel, a feat that included four and a half twists in the air.

That these elements were set to the theme song of the HBO series only heightened the drama of Mr. Malinin’s performance.

The somber string music that opens the song plays for about 30 seconds as Mr. Malinin, a 19-year-old student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., performs a quadruple axel in a suit resembling a classic tuxedo. Mr Malinin, who grew up in Fairfax, is the only skater to have made the jump in competition; he did this for the first time in 2022.

By the time of the piano riffs on the «Inheritance» theme, he had completed three more quadrilaterals: a quadrilateral lutz, a quadrilateral loop, and a quadrilateral salchow. (His ability to perform quadruple jumps earned him the nickname Quad God.) Before the end of the roughly four-minute routine, he landed two more.

Mr. Malinin began skating to the «Inheritance» theme last fall, but has yet to watch the show. «I don’t have an HBO subscription,» he said in an interview. «But if I got it, I would definitely watch.»

The network’s programming has influenced his performances before: Last season, he performed a free skate program set to a selection of music from the «Euphoria» series.

«I haven’t seen Euphoria either, but I’ve heard it’s a really good show,» he said.

For his free skate «Euphoria», Mr. Malinin worked with choreographer Juris Razgulaev. His performance on Saturday, for which he received the highest score for a free skate, was designed by choreographer Shae-Lynn Bourne.

Ms. Bourne chose the theme of «Inheritance» in part because it had not yet been used in figure skating, a sport for which musical selections are often repeated, Mr. Malinin said.

«We played around with how to make the sound work for a figure skating program, make the program better and make it convenient to cleanly perform the elements,» he said. «We added some sound effects and changed things to make the music just right for a figure skating program.»

Nicholas Brittell, who composed the «Succession» theme, said in an email that he was honored that Mr. Malinin had chosen the music for his skate. «It’s really exciting to see the result go beyond the TV screen,» said Mr Britell.

Mr. Malinin said he barely attended the recent skating championships because of a «small injury» that took him off the ice for a week before the event. His competition total of 333.76 — which was more than 24 points ahead of runner-up Yuma Kagiyama — was representative of the progress Mr. Malinin has made since entering the senior men’s international skating circuit in 2021

«I never thought I would be able to achieve this amazing free skate and this crazy world record,» Mr Malinin said, adding that learning to land a quadruple jump motivated him «to become an innovator and change the game’.

His main coaches Tatiana Malinina and Roman Skornyakov are also his parents. Both were Olympic figure skaters for Uzbekistan and drew on that experience while training their son. «They tell me not to be so stressed before a race and how to maximize practice to make it effective,» Mr Malinin said. He is also advised by Raphael Harutyunyan, the longtime coach of American Olympic figure skaters Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon.

Since mastering the quadruple axel, Mr. Malinin said he has been interested in attempting the quintuple jump, a maneuver that involves five spins in the air and has never been performed in competition.

In the coming months, Mr. Malinin plans to «take time to mentally prepare for the idea of ​​attempting» the heel jump, he said. «I love pushing the boundaries of physical ability and the boundaries of this sport.»

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