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Americans Ilia Malinin, Chock/Bates win figure skating’s Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin

ALLEN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Ilia Malinin of United States skates in the Men’s Free Skate during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Skate America at Credit Union of Texas Events Center on October 21, 2023 in Allen, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Stockman - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

International Skating Union via Getty Images

U.S. figure skater Ilia Malinin notched the biggest international title of his young career by winning the Grand Prix Final, setting him up to be the favorite for March’s world championships.

Malinin, 19, topped both Thursday’s short program and Saturday’s free skate in Beijing. He totaled a personal-best 314.66 points and prevailed by 17.32 over two-time world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin’s mom won the Grand Prix Final 24 years ago, skating for Uzbekistan.

Malinin tried a record-tying six quadruple jumps in the free skate, landing five, including his first career quad loop. He became the first skater to land all six quad jumps over a career. He fell on a quad Axel, a jump that only he has ever landed in competition.

Malinin became the fourth U.S. man to win the Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive event in the sport taking the top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series. The others were Jeremy Abbott (2008), Evan Lysacek (2009) and Nathan Chen (2017-19).

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Malinin now has the world’s top two scores this season. Next month, he’ll look to repeat as U.S. champion.

Earlier Saturday, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates completed an undefeated 2023 in ice dance by winning their first Grand Prix Final title in their seventh attempt after four prior silver medals.

Chock and Bates had the top score in Friday’s rhythm dance and Saturday’s free dance. They totaled 221.61 points — best score in the world this season — and won by 5.1 over Italians Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri.

Chock, 31, and Bates, 34, have now won every major senior competition except for the Olympics. Last March, they won their first world title and became the oldest world champions in ice dance history.

They go for a fifth U.S. title next month and to make the podium at nationals for a 12th consecutive year.

Two-time world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan also earned her first Grand Prix Final title. She won both programs to distance Loena Hendrickx of Belgium by 22.34.

American Isabeau Levito was third in the free skate to move up from sixth to fifth overall in the six-skater field.