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Teenage phenomenon Ilia Malinin breaks 300-point barrier with personal best score to retain Skate America title

By Aimee Lewis, CNN

(CNN) — Figure skating phenomenon Ilia Malinin defended his title at Skate America on Saturday with a personal-best score of 310.47 points in the season-opening Grand Prix.

The 18-year-old, who last year became the first person to complete a quadruple axel in competition, retained the crown he first won as a 17-year-old in 2022, when he became the youngest men’s champion in the event’s history.

Performing his free skate to the title music of the hit TV show “Succession,” Malinin landed four quad jumps. At the end of his routine, thrilled spectators threw cuddly toys onto the ice at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen, Texas.

His score was better than his previous best overall score of 288.44, achieved at the World Championships this year where he won bronze. Only three other men have ever scored higher than Malinin’s new personal best.

“I have no words,” Malinin said afterwards, per the “This was completely amazing experience for me.

“I wasn’t expecting to skate this well, especially with the pressure that I was facing. I was ready to stay on my feet and fight for everything.”

Malinin opted not to perform the quadruple axel which requires four-and-a-half revolutions in the air, turning from a forward-facing take off to a backward-facing landing.

France’s Kevin Aymoz took silver with Japan’s Shun Sato winning bronze.

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