Showman Uno Shoma retains his world titlein front of a Japanese audience. The defending champion had a rough practice week, but he came through with the goods in his competitions and won back-to-back victories. The Republic of Korea received its first-ever men's world medal thanks to Cha Jun-hwan. Ilia Malinin finished in third place.
Uno Shoma was found lying on his back in the middle of the ice once everything was finished.
But it was in joy and not defeat: The incumbent world champion overcame jumping troubles and an ankle injury earlier in the week to capture his second straight victory at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, which took place in Saitama, Japan, on Saturday (25 March).
Uno's free skate wasn't flawless, but it didn't matter because he didn't need to be: He landed five quads and built off of the lead he had after the short program, becoming the new world champion after already having won three Olympic medals.
He finished with a total of 301.41, giving him a five-point victory against Cha Jun-hwan. Cha Jun-hwan won the first men's world medal for the Republic of Korea, earning a career-high 296.03 points.
Ilia Malinin, a teenager from the United States, won the bronze medal with a score of 288.44.
He joined Sakamoto Kaori (who won the women's singles competition) and Miura Riku and Kihara Ryuichi (who won the pairs competition) as world champions for the host nation of Japan. Uno's victory capped off a golden World for Japan. That is the crowning achievement in a successful season for Uno, who triumphed in every competition he entered this year.
The last time a men's singles champion prevailed in front of his home audience was in 2014 when two-time Olympian Hanyu Yuzuru triumphed at the Saitama Super Arena. Japan again swept the singles that year, with Asada Mao taking the women's title.
Uno, 25, skated despite an ankle ailment that kept him out of a practice session earlier in the week, prompting widespread speculation that he would not be able to participate. Yet he was, his Air on the G-String free skate unfolding with the flawless silkiness for which his skating has become recognized.
Veterans Kevin Aymoz (282.97) of France and Jason Brown (280.04) of the United States went four-five off of two thrilling skates to lead the final men's group, while Tomono Kazuki of Japan finished sixth (273.45).
Keegan Messing of Canada finished sixth in his final World Championships (265.16).
Uno's world triumph came on the heels of an Olympic bronze medal a year ago. He won his first world championship in Montpellier, France, over compatriot Kagiyama Yuma, erasing whatever doubts that Kagiyama or Hanyu had previously thrown on him.
That victory foreshadowed his 2022-23 season, which has been flawless from start to finish. Uno worsened an ankle injury he was already treating in Saitama, and on Tuesday (21 March), he expressed uncertainty about his ability to perform at his best at Worlds.
Uno went deep again in the free after winning the short program with a 104.63, pushing through a two-footed landing on his second quad, a Salchow, and then holding on later for a quad toe-loop. He only added one toe to his second quad, but his overall performancequality remained consistent.