For determine skater Nathan Chen, America’s finest hope for a gold medal in the preferred Winter Olympic sport, a journey of 4 years comes right down to the following 4 months.
Will he obtain in Beijing the promise that was bestowed upon him again in 2018, that his prodigious expertise and impeccable athleticism would carry him to an Olympic gold medal? Or will he as soon as once more be denied the one title he doesn’t possess, that of being an Olympic champion?
His quest begins Friday evening at Skate America in Las Vegas, the primary main worldwide skating competitors of the Olympic season. It can finish within the lengthy program of the lads’s occasion on the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb 10.
It will likely be then that Chen, 22, will know. Does the best U.S. male skater in a era be part of the likes of Dick Button, Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano as an Olympic gold medalist? Or does he not?
“It’s at all times been a dream of mine to have the ability to win a nationwide title, to win a world title, to win an Olympic title,” Chen mentioned earlier this 12 months. “Simpler mentioned than performed. I believed that I had an opportunity in 2018 and that didn’t occur and I’m in a position to stay with that.
“In fact I’d love to have the ability to win the following Olympics, but when that doesn’t occur, it’s not like my legacy or who I’m is finally diminished. I’m nonetheless proud of every thing that I’ve performed. I’m happy with every thing that I’ve already completed in skating. I nonetheless would love to enhance and be higher, however in truth, I’m actually proud of the place I’m and what I’ve already performed, so whether or not or not I get that title on the Olympics just isn’t going to outline me as an individual.”
Practically 4 years in the past, Chen was an 18-year-old gold medal favourite on the 2018 Olympics in South Korea when he fell aside within the males’s brief program, ending a dismal seventeenth. Having no likelihood to win a medal, the burden of the world lifted from his shoulders, he went on to win the lengthy program and end fifth general.
How important was that second? Chen has not misplaced a contest since. World championships, nationwide championships, Grand Prix occasions – Chen is undefeated since Pyeongchang, a outstanding achievement in any sport at any time, however particularly right now in males’s skating, probably the most aggressive period athletically within the historical past of a sport the place four-revolution jumps are landed on a sliver of a blade of metal, on ice after all.
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Chen, who’s on go away from Yale, the place he’s majoring in statistics and knowledge science, mentioned his poor efficiency within the 2018 Olympic brief program taught him a helpful lesson.
“With the ability to have the chance to have such a tough skate on the earlier Olympics did give me the perception to comprehend that skating, whereas it’s extremely necessary and the factor I’ve actually performed each single day of my life since I used to be three, is also one thing that’s only a ardour venture for me,” Chen mentioned earlier this week.
“All of that sounds perhaps that I do not essentially care a lot about skating, however skating’s necessary and that’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what my life has been, however there’s a life exterior of skating and sooner or later in time within the close to future, I should take a step away from skating. I will not have the ability to skate for the remainder of my life.”
So what does that imply for this important 2021-2022 Olympic season?
“I feel having the belief that each competitors is a good alternative for me to point out the work that I’ve been placing in in addition to know that I’ve a restricted variety of competitions in my life and to essentially simply take advantage of out of every competitors and attempt to get pleasure from myself the very best that I can,” he mentioned.
“I discover that once I’m kind of in a position to undertake that preferrred, I’m in a position to skate quite a bit higher or at the least put myself able the place I really feel much more relaxed and proceed to get pleasure from it greater than being concerned about what the end result can be.”
An end result that may come shortly now, as positive as the autumn turns to winter and a brand new 12 months dawns. Earlier than we all know it, Feb. 10 can be right here, ready for him.