TALLINN, Estonia (AP)
American figure skater Ilia Malinin shattered the world record in the short program at the junior world championships on Thursday, scoring 88.99 points with his program set to David Cook’s ”Billie Jean” to take a big lead into the free skate.
The 17-year-old Malinin, dubbed the ”QuadGod” for his dynamic leaping ability, easily surpassed the previous record of 84.87 points that current world champion Shoma Uno set at the junior championships in 2015.
Malinin, who finished ninth at senior worlds last month, finished second to Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen at the U.S. championships in January. But Malinin was passed over for the team that went to Beijing in favor of veteran Jason Brown, and is now considered a favorite to medal at the 2026 Winter Games in Italy.
Wesley Chiu of Canada was second with 81.59 points heading into Saturday’s free skate. Mihhail Selevko of Estonia was third with 81.26 points while Malinin’s teammate, Liam Kapeikis, was fourth with 79.83 points.
In the pairs competition, Karina Safina and Luka Berulava of Georgia lead with 67.77 points. Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos of Australia were second and Anastasiia Smirnova and Danil Siianytsia of the U.S. were third.