Team USA Makes History with Two World Championship Golds

For the first time since 1996, the United States earned two gold medals at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Madison Chock and Evan Bates repeated as ice dance champions with a stunning free dance Saturday, while Ilia Malinin rewrote the record book in the men’s free skate with a performance for the ages on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Photo Credit Getty Images
By Troy Schwindt

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, in a closeup shot, hold up their gold medals, the USA flag wrapped around them.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates became the first U.S. ice dance team to win consecutive gold medals.

For the first time since 1996, the United States earned two gold medals at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates repeated as ice dance champions with a stunning free dance Saturday, while Ilia Malinin rewrote the record book in the men’s free skate with a performance for the ages on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldredge earned gold medals at the 1996 World Championships.

Chock and Bates became the first U.S. ice dance team to win back-to-back World titles. With their fifth World medal, they stand alone at the top of the record books as the U.S. ice dance team with the most World medals.

The men’s event saw Malinin break the world record for the highest free skate score to clinch his second straight World medal and first gold. The title also marks the fastest turnaround from junior to senior World champion since Alexei Yagudin in 1996 and 1998. Malinin won the junior title in 2022.

“It definitely means so much to me,” said Malinin of Saturday’s gold, dropping to the ice, overwhelmed with emotion after the performance. “The past few weeks have been such a mental and physical challenge for me to get through. I was even debating whether or not to come to the World Championships, but at the last minute I was like, ‘I want to do this. I want to come here. I want to see what I can put out on the ice,’ and I’m glad that I stuck with that. Going through the short and the free, I just trusted myself in my training and everything that I went through, and I’m so glad to be here on top right now.”

Malinin, skating last in the field of 24 men, began his remarkable program to music from the Succession soundtrack by Nicholas Britell by landing four consecutive quads: Axel, Lutz, loop and Salchow. All four jumps received GOEs between 2.74 and 4.44.

After that remarkable feat, the 19-year-old Virginia native delivered a Level 4 spin and a Level 4 step sequence. His biggest point-earner followed when he generated 23.30 points for his quad Lutz-Euler-triple flip combination. He wrapped things up with one more quad combination and a Level 4 spin at the end.

He finished with a world record segment score of 227.79, besting Nathan Chen’s old mark of 224.92. Malinin’s previous best free skate and overall scores came last fall at the Grand Prix Final when he put up 207.76 and 314.66 points respectively, en route to victory.

“When I got into that starting position, I knew that this could be the best skate of my life, or it could go terribly wrong,” Malinin said. “I just thought to keep myself under control and to be as confident as possible and try to attack everything. Just going through every element at a time slowly. Hearing the crowd cheer more and more and feeling that energy, especially the second half after the footwork.

“I was able to get a breather and I felt right then and there that this was my time. I had to just deliver the rest of the program and then just kept going and going. I didn’t even realize what was going on. I was flying through the program, and it was amazing to hear at the very end of the program, when I finished all my jumping passes, hearing the crowd go wild. I didn’t even finish my program. It’s an incredible experience. I just wanted to give one of the last few seconds of the program, deliver it and put in my all. After that program, it was so amazing to me. I couldn't even hold myself up, it was just that emotional to me.”

Jason Brown secured a fifth-place finish at the World Championships for a second straight year, delivering another captivating performance to “The Impossible Dream” by Josh Groban.

The two-time Olympian, competing for only the third time this season, brought the emotional program to life with his unparalleled skating skills and storytelling.

He posted a free skate score of 180.46 and an overall total of 274.33. He produced an event-best components score.

“I’m super excited, Brown, 29, said. “It was a great way to end the year and I’m overwhelmed by the incredible crowd.”

The program, he said, holds a special place in his heart.

“It meant so much to me last year, and the reason I did it and the meaning behind the program,” the Illinois native said. “Coming back to it in a lot of ways wasn’t obviously my plan originally, but I didn’t have enough time to train my newer long program the way I wanted to this season, so it was cool to come back to it and continue working on it and developing it. But the meaning shifted a bit because it meant so much to me personally last year.”

Camden Pulkinen ran out of steam, he said, during his free skate to music from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.

The U.S. bronze medalist finished with a segment score of 141.01 and an overall total of 219.86 to place 20th in the segment and 20th  overall.

“I would have liked to deliver a clean program today,” said Pulkinen, who placed fifth at the 2022 World Championships. “I think overall, just energy management. In the short I was a little too high energy. In the long program, a little too low. It's trying to find that medium spot where I can find the most success. So a little disappointed from today. I would have liked to end the season a little stronger, but it’s all experience and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to represent U.S. Figure Skating and Team USA, and I’m excited for the offseason.”

With Malinin’s title and Brown’s fifth-place finish, the U.S. men will have three entries at the World Championships in Boston next spring. Team USA has finished on the World podium every year the event has been held since 2018.

Earlier in the ice dance event, Chock and Bates performed a mesmerizing free dance to Pink Floyd’s “Time,” hitting every element with fluid precision.

The Montreal-based team posted the event’s top components score. They finished with the second-best segment score of 132.12 and an overall-best 220.20 points. Their diagonal serpentine step sequence toward the end of the program generated 12.38 points and a GOE of 4.18.

With the title, Team USA has medaled at the last nine consecutive World Championships in ice dance. Chock and Bates’ second World gold medal ties Meryl Davis and Charlie White (2011, 2013).

“It was packed, and the energy was incredible,” Chock said of the free dance atmosphere. “It felt phenomenal to just go out there and put out probably our best performance of the season.”    

“It was amazing,” Bates added. “We are so grateful to the whole arena, and to skate at our 11th World Championships together here in our hometown of Montreal.” 

The five-time and reigning U.S. champions completed their first undefeated season and have not lost an event since the 2022 Grand Prix Final. They started their careers together in 2011.

“We’ve learned a lot skating together for so many years,” Chock said. “As a couple, being together as well, it really allows us to hone in on our craft, even off the ice. We’re just so grateful for the opportunity to perform here in Montreal, and our Ice Academy of Montreal for taking us in in 2018.”

With a second World gold medal around their necks, Chock and Bates were asked about competing at the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan. An individual Olympic medal is the only hardware left for them to earn in the sport.

“I think honestly right now we have a lot to celebrate coming up, and have a lot to evaluate before we jump into another season because it certainly does take a lot of work, and a lot of our hearts and a lot of things put on hold,” Chock said. “It isn't out of the realm of possibility, but also we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. We’re going to reevaluate and see how we feel at the end of the season and after our wedding — that's the big, big thing on my mind.”

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko posted personal-best international scores for their free dance and overall total to secure a seventh-place finish.

Tenth in their Worlds debut in 2023, the Canada-based team performed a flawless free dance to the haunting music from the 2006 thriller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Their score of 121.06 was nearly four points better than their previous best, and their overall total of 200.32 was more than six points better.

“We’re very happy, and to break that 200 mark, that’s been a goal of ours for a few seasons now,” Ponomarenko said. “Then to do that at World Championships – it’s quite special and testament to the hard work that we put in.”

Carreira and Ponomarenko moved their training to Canada in recent years and are coached by a team that includes two-time Olympic champion Scott Moir and Olympic bronze medalist Madison Hubbell.

“It's completely changed my perspective on the sport and on life in general,” Carriera said. “They really changed my life. They’ve given me such a positive outlook on the sport and how I see myself and us as a team. I'm so, so grateful for them.”

The U.S. silver medalists train in London, Canada; and Montreal.

“We came here [Montreal] to train for two weeks after nationals. We focused a lot on the technical side and then when we went back home [London], we focused on what Scott calls ‘the magic,’” Carreira said. “The little something special, that it doesn't look like you’ve been doing that dance for 1,000 times. It looked fresh and new, and I think blending the two together really paid off.”

With their overall placement and the title won by Chock and Bates, the U.S. will maintain three teams when it competes at Worlds next year in Boston.

For full results at the World Championships, click here.