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Figure Skating

Quad God Strikes Gold

Ilia Malinin of the United States competes in the Men's Free Program during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at the Bell Centre on March 23, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Yes, I know, it's March Madness. But it's also time for the figure skating world championships. So take a few minutes—about five and a half, to be exact, not even the full length of the video—put down your beverage, look away from your parlay, and watch this.

That's Ilia Malinin of the United States winning gold Saturday at the 2024 figure skating world championships, skating to music from "Succession" and landing six quads—including the vaunted quad axel. (The quad requires four and a half rotations due to its forward takeoff.) His athleticism was rewarded with the highest free skate score in history, beating out the record held by another U.S. skater, Nathan Chen.

The gulf that Malinin's magnificent jumps put between himself and his nearest active competitors is tough to overstate. Olympics journalist Philip Hersh wrote on Twitter that, even if silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan had landed all of his jumps, "he still would have lost by about 13 - 14 points." If you need further evidence, watch the video to its end and listen to commentators and former Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir lose their damn minds over what they just watched.

There were more competitions held, of course, and Malinin was not even the only American to win gold; ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates finished first in ice dancing. The next winter Olympics are still two years away, plenty of time for another challenger to arise. And yet Malinin not just winning gold but smashing the competition while skating to music from a TV show about who will take over a (business) empire almost felt a little too on the nose. Or perhaps that was the point. Why be subtle when you've got "quadg0d" in your Instagram handle. The era of Ilia Malinin is here. Only he knows how long it will last.

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