Twenty years ago, Nathan Chen, a young man who saw the figure skating competition at Salt Lake City Olympics, decided that he wanted to be just like them. He became an Olympic gold medalist.
Chen, who trains at Great Park Ice, Irvine, California, combines the power and musicality that made him a three-time world champion and elevated them to the next level, becoming the seventh American man to win the singles figure skating gold medal. Chen maintained the lead with his short program, performing an animated and accomplished free skating to an Elton John song. He finished with 332.60 points, fulfilling a dream he held close to his heart since 2002.
He had failed to realize his dream four years ago in Pyeongchang. After a short program, he was 17th. Only a superhuman free skating placed him fifth. He was unbeatable at Capital Indoor Stadium, ending the reign of Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan, who was a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
It's still a wild ride. He said that he never imagined that he would be able make it happen.
It shouldn't happen. "It's hard. He said, "I don't know." It's been a dream of mine for a long time, but it's quite daunting.
After the show, Chen hugged Rafael Arutyunyan his coach, whom he had followed from rink-to-rink for many years. He believed that Arutyunyan would help him reach the top of the world of skating. Chen believed as much as his skating.
Jason Brown, a teammate, was glowing in his praises: "Oh my god, I'm so proud of him. No one deserves it more. He is unique.
Hanyu finished fourth after a short program but stood eighth.
Hanyu fulfilled his promise to try a quadruple axel leap. He nearly completed the 4 1/2 revolutions before falling on the landing. Although he also fell on his second jump (a quadruple salchow), he managed to land two more quads in combinations, and was otherwise his usual stirring, stellar self.
Hanyu, 27 years old, bowed down to all sides of the rink and placed his hand on his heart. With a quick twirl, Hanyu left the rink and extended his arm towards the small but loving crowd. He then moved to the kiss-and cry area to hear his scores. He finished his free skate with 188.06 points, and he held the lead with seven more skaters. Yuma Kagiyama from Japan finished second with 310.05 points and Shoma Uo who was third with 293.00 points. Shoma Uno fell in her "Bolero” free skate to win the bronze medal.
Chen stated, "Coming into it, in my mind I didn't feel I was the favorite win." "As soon you hear the name Yuzuru Hanyu you are like, Well, this competition will be difficult' along with the other Japanese men. Yuma has been on an incredible hot trajectory, and Shoma is doing his thing quietly while making it difficult for all the other competitors. You can't count out anyone because the rest of this field is so deep.