The Unbeatable Nathan Chen


Joy Herrera, Staff Writer

Nathan Chen has had a whirlwind career in figure skating. Since the last Winter Olympics, he has risen to the top of the figure skating world. His fifth win in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships marks the growth that he has had as a skater.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Chen had a disastrous short program with a fall on one of his jumps and a stumble on another, leaving him at 17th place. In the free skate, he was able to regain some positions by performing a near-flawless routine. He ended the Olympics, where he was projected to medal, by narrowly missing the podium at 5th place.

Since then, Chen has been unbeatable. He won every competition he entered and collected two world championships and three national titles. Chen has made history in America as the most decorated figure skater since Dick Button claimed seven straight championships in the 1940s. He is one of the top skaters in the world because of his skill on the technical end. He has mastered quadruple jumps, the most difficult type of figure skating jump, and his musicality is also on another level.

His closest rival is Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. Hanyu was the men’s figure skating gold medalist at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. However, the skaters are not enemies and are quite friendly even as the two are both favorites for the gold in 2022. They will hopefully meet again in March, before the Olympics, at the World Championship in Stockholm. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping championships up in the air. Figure skating competitions have managed to continue during this time with precautionary measures like implementing a bubble, but competitions are still decided on a case-by-case basis.

“Of course I would love to be able to win the next Olympics but, if that doesn’t happen, it’s not like my legacy or who I am is ultimately diminished,” said Chen to The New York Times.

Chen has other aspirations in life as he is currently attending Yale University on a pre-med track. For the past two years he has put his studies on hold to focus on skating. However, he noted that he deeply enjoys his schooling, and he is extremely grateful that he is also able to juggle his passions. The 21-year-old is currently training in Irvine, California, and is expected to make another Olympic medal attempt in 2022 at the Beijing Winter Olympics.


Photo courtesy of MERCURYNEWS.COM