The Winter Olympics are cold weather sports’ time to shine. From snowboarding to curling, these are the games that are all about playing on snow and ice. With 15 different types of events, there are a ton of sports to watch. But none of the events are quite like figure skating, a delicate blend of dance and athletics. Of all the Americans competing, Nathan Chen is one of the most exciting, and these videos of him skating will help newcomers to the sport understand what all the fuss is about.
Since Chen graduated from the Juniors of figure skating to the Senior pro level in 2016, he’s been at the top of the rankings. Although his performance at the 2018 Olympics wasn’t as impressive as he’d hoped (he took home the team bronze medal but placed fifth as an individual), he’s been a six-time U.S. national champion. He’s also broken records as the first person to land five types of quadruple jumps in competition: toe loop, Salchow, loop, flip, and Lutz. He also holds world records in the free skate and the combined score.
Let’s run down some of his most notable performances, starting with the record-setting performance during which he landed all five jumps.
Free Skate | Worlds April 2018
After placing fifth at the 2018 Olympics, Chen came into the 2018 Worlds with something to prove. And prove he did, with a routine that stunned the figure skating world, landing five perfect quads, one in every discipline, and even going for a sixth, though not entirely sticking the final landing.
Free Skate | Nationals January 2019
Having won Nationals in 2017 and 2018 ahead of the Olympics, Chen came into the 2019 competition as a man on a mission — to be the first since Johnny Weir in the early aughts to score three gold medals in consecutive years. This is the performance that helped him do just that.
Short Program | Worlds March 2019
Chen had already broken the world record for the free skate at the 2019 World Championships when he took the ice for the short program. However, this performance put him over the top for a second world record for total score. It was also his second gold medal at Worlds.
Short Program | Nationals January 2020
Chen came into Nationals at the top of 2020 a three-time champion and then proceeded to do it again, becoming the first four-time champion since Brian Boitano in the 1980s. It was also one of his last public competition wins before the worldwide shutdowns in March, which canceled the 2020 Worlds competition.
Short Program | Nationals January 2021
When the world began reopening in 2021, Chen was ready to keep going. He made history with this performance, making him a five-time U.S. National champion.
Free Skate | Worlds April 2021
Coming back to Worlds for the first time since 2019, Chen was not always in his best form, and he fell during the short program. But when it came to the free skate, he turned in a perfect routine and overcame the deficit to take home gold yet again, becoming the first American since Scott Hamilton in the 1980s to do so.
Short Program | Nationals January 2022
With the Olympics just around the corner again, Chen came into Nationals knowing his chance to be selected as part of the men’s team was on the line. He aced his short program performance and took home the sixth consecutive title. One more and he’ll tie the all-time record held by 1940s skater Dick Button. But first, there’s the little matter of a different gold medal in Beijing...
The figure skating competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games begins Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.