America’s hope for an Olympic gold medal in figure skating rests on the slim shoulders of 18-year-old Nathan Chen.
And memo to the competition, if they think that Chen is already good now, the two-time national champion hinted that he will be on entirely another level once the competition starts in PyeongChang, South Korea next month.
He said that in previous competition, every move was instinctive which is why the jumps have been “quicker than the rest of me.”
“I need to find a purpose in my movements, to feel the program and the music, to analyze what I was doing right and wrong,” he said. “For a while, it had all been done pretty much by feel.
But he trained hard with coaches and the choreographers to make sure that he understands the purpose of each move. “I have felt more passion in my skating and more of a connection to the music,” he added.
While it’s hard to envision what kind of pressure that Chen is facing to carry the whole country’s expectations on his back, but the teenager believes that being in the Olympics is destiny. When he was just 10 years old at the US novice men’s figure skating championships, he already predicted that he would be in the 2018 Olympics.
“I do remember saying that as a little kid. It was more centered on the fact that I’d be age-eligible for 2018,” he explained. “Obviously, that was my goal and that’s what I wanted, but I honestly didn’t really think it would be attainable.”
Although he conceded that realistically speaking, he thought that 2022 would have been the time he would qualify for the Olympics. He would have been 22 years old by then. Chen said that there’s only one thing left to do and that’s to prove that the US team did not make a mistake in giving him a spot in the Olympics.