‘Succession’ Theme Helped Ilia Malinin Score Men’s Figure Skating Title: “I Don’t Even Have a Subscription to HBO”

Ilia Malinin’s record-setting night in Montreal over the weekend was fueled by music from an award-winning show he had never watched.

The 19-year-old American won his first men’s World Figure Skating Championship title Saturday with the theme music to HBO’s hit series Succession playing during his free skate routine, which earned him a record 227.79 points to the delight of an engaged crowd.

More from The Hollywood Reporter

“I don’t even have a subscription to HBO,” Malinin told The New York Times. “But if I get it, I’d definitely watch.”

Malinin entered his free skate routine needing a big moment after placing third in the short program, and he delivered.

Once Nicholas Britell’s soundtrack started playing on the loudspeakers at Bell Centre, fans began clapping and Malinin — nicknamed the “Quad God” for his quadruple jumps — sprang to life. He landed six quadruple jumps, including the quadruple axel that only he has ever landed in competition.

Malinin, who attends George Mason University and is coached by his parents, both former Olympic skaters for Uzbekistan, said in a Good Morning America interview that his choreographer and parents helped him choose the music.

“I was really interested to try this piece of music,” Malinin told GMA. “It was something that I’ve never skated to before, and it was a different style of skating for me to try, but I was looking forward to it. And I think that it really helped me boost my skating ability and to really progress and how I’m able to play around with different genres to improve my skating overall.”

After his winning performance, in which no other skater was within 20 points of his total score, Malinin dropped to his knees and soaked in cheers from the crowd.

“I knew that this could be the best skate of my life,” Malinin said, “or it could go terribly wrong.”

The theme music has a history of success. It earned Britell a Grammy nomination in 2023, one of many accolades for the HBO show that won 19 Emmys and nine Golden Globes during its four-season run from 2018-23.

Britell told the Times: “It is really exciting to see the score transcend beyond the TV screen.”

Best of The Hollywood Reporter