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Boitano was known primarily as a jumper early in his career and he, along with several other skaters, helped push the technical envelope of men's skating.

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Following the 1984 Olympics, several skaters emerged as likely medal hopes following the retirement of Scott Hamilton.

Boitano won the 1985 United States Figure Skating Championships, the first of his four titles.

At the first World Championships of the post-Hamilton era in 1985, Alexander Fadeev won, with Brian Orser finishing 2nd and Boitano 3rd.

He had injured tendons in his right ankle a few weeks before the 1986 U. Championships but went on to win his second national title.

At the 1986 World Championships, Boitano took the title, while Fadeev had a disastrous free skate despite having been in an excellent position to win; Orser finished 2nd once again.

During the 1986–87 season, Boitano had introduced two new elements to his programs: the 'Tano triple lutz and a quadruple toe loop, although he never succeeded in landing a clean quadruple jump in competition.The 1987 World Championships were held in Cincinnati, giving defending World champion Boitano a home-field an American figure skater from Sunnyvale, California. In 1982 Boitano became the first American to land a triple axel.He is the 1988 Olympic champion, the 19 World Champion, and the 1985–1988 U. In 1987 he introduced his signature jump, the 'Tano triple lutz' in which the skater raises his left arm above his head. He returned to competition in 1993 and competed at the 1994 Winter Olympics, where he placed sixth.He attempted a quadruple jump throughout the 1986–87 season and at the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships, but did not cleanly land the jump; he double-footed the landing on two occasions.