Malinin Third After Short Program at Worlds, with Brown Close Behind

Ilia Malinin is halfway to securing his second straight World medal after finishing third in the men’s short program Thursday at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2024 in Montreal, Quebec.

Photo Credit Getty Images
By Troy Schwindt

Ilia Malinin is halfway to securing his second straight World medal after finishing third in the men’s short program Thursday at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2024 in Montreal, Quebec.

The reigning World bronze medalist delivered a beautifully skated routine to “Malagueña” by Roni Beniseto to finish third in the field of 40 skaters at the Bell Centre. His score of 105.97 included the event’s highest technical score of 61.30.

“I was glad I was able to come here and perform under pressure,” Malinin said. “[The crowd was] so excited and that helped me a lot.”

Malinin, the 2023 Grand Prix Final champion, opened his program with a quad toe loop followed by a quad Lutz-triple toe combination – the highest scoring element of the competition at 18.99 points. He earned Level 4s for all of his spins and a Level 3 for his step sequence.

“I feel I could have performed a lot better and there were a few minor things, but overall I’m happy,” Malinin said.

Team USA’s Jason Brown was also stellar, finishing fourth. Brown, 29, skated an exquisite program that fans are accustomed to seeing from the two-time Olympian. He captivated the audience with effortless skating skills and transitions to “Adios” by Benjamin Clementine.

The Illinois native, who trains in Toronto, posted a season’s best score of 93.87. Competing for only the third time this season, Brown said the crowd was exhilarating.

“Honestly, just stepping out on to the ice and having that reception from the crowd was so overwhelming in the most incredible way,” Brown said. “Before the program even began. I was just so excited to be here.”  

Brown, the 2024 U.S. silver medalist, placed fifth at the 2023 World Championships. This competition marked his sixth World Championships.

Except for a fall on his opening quad toe, Pulkinen was dialed in for his program to “A Different Kind of Love” by Son Lux.

The Arizona native, who turns 24 this week, successfully landed a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe combination in the second half of this program. He scored 78.85 to finish 17th.

Pulkinen placed a career-best fifth at the 2022 World Championships.

“Overall I’m excited to compete and perform here, so on that first jump I put a little too much energy and a little too much speed into it,” said Pulkinen, who attends Columbia University and trains in New York and California. “Completely natural, but I was happy that I was able to rebound and honestly super happy to have all Level 4 spins. It’s been something that I’ve had doubt with over the last season, so I’m happy I executed all four spins and did the Axel and the combo to high quality. Skating is all about adapting and I’m happy I was able to adapt after the mistakes today.”

In the pairs event, Team USA finished 11th, 12th and 13th overall.

U.S. pairs champions Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea didn’t have their best for the free skate, but did make strides in their approach, O’Shea said.

Kam and O’Shea, who placed 12th in their Worlds debut in 2023, finished 11th with an overall score of 180.41, including 115.97 in the free skate. The Colorado Springs-based team performed to music from the Nocturnal Animals soundtrack by Abel Korzeniowski.

“I'm proud of what we put out there today, just because we've been working hard on our process, our steps that lead to a good outcome for us,” O’Shea said. “Unfortunately, the outcome on a lot of the jumps and throws today was not what you would call good. It wasn't the outcome that we accomplish at home most of the time. But the steps that we took, the way we approached each element, how you come with your body, how you think about your technique, those things were really there.”

Growing as performers and gaining consistency with their elements is a primary goal this offseason, they added.

Boston-based Emily Chan and Spencer Howe posted an overall score of 175.44 to finish 12th. They placed fifth at Worlds in 2023, but missed most of the 2023-24 season due to Howe’s shoulder injury. Their free skate Thursday marked their first of the season. They tallied 112.58 points.

“It was amazing for us,” Chan said. “It’s been such a tough season as we all know [because of injury/surgery]. But we’ve rolled with the punches and here we are completing our second Worlds. Last year we had a great debut. This year, we have a little bit different circumstances, but we’re here and we’re grateful.”

Chan and Howe skated to "Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 3 (Redemption)" by Muse. Their three lifts received Level 3s and one Level 4.

U.S. bronze medalists Valentina Plazas and Maximilano Fernandez, who train in Canton, Michigan, notched a free skate score of 112.51 for an overall score of 174.15, a new international personal best.

“We learn from every event we go to,” Fernandez said. “This is our ninth event of the season, and you can’t win everything always. Honestly, the best winners learn from their losses, and we’re learning from our losses. It’s something we’re going to use as a tool to help us keep gaining our steps forward. We’re trying to take big steps, but our tiny steps are still helping us, so we’re happy with us just being here.”

Plazas echoed her partner’s sentiment in regard to the team’s development.

“A lot of growth, honestly,” she said. “Just within our elements, but us working as a team, we've really worked well this season with all the pressure and all the ups and downs that we've had. So that's honestly what I'm most proud of is how we've evolved as a team.” 

With the U.S. pairs placement in Montreal, they earned two spots at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2025 in Boston.

The rhythm dance will start competition off Friday morning, with the women’s final in the evening. Click here for live results. All competition will also be streamed live on Peacock. The full television schedule can be viewed here.