BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 08: Nathan Chen of Team United States skates during the Men Single Skating...

Nathan Chen Broke A *World Record* With The Most Intense Skate Routine Ever

I can’t handle his reaction!

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are only just getting getting started — and so is 22-year old figure skater Nathan Chen. On Feb. 8, the American athlete came out on top after setting a world record in the men’s short program, making him one of the games’ top competitors for Olympic gold. Audiences all over the world were floored at his breathtaking performance, and I can’t blame them: This video of Nathan Chen's world record skate is making me cry, too.

Including two difficult quad jumps (one of which was immediately followed by a triple lutz), Chen’s routine was among most difficult in the men’s short program. Skaters must use their body’s full strength to launch themselves into the air and perfectly time their landings, so the risk for injury never disappears, no matter how skilled an athlete is. Yet, Chen executed his entire performance with strength and grace, making some of the most challenging — and dangerous — maneuvers in figure skating appear effortless. Not only did his work earn him the event’s highest score of 113.97 points, but it also shattered reigning champion Yuzuru Hanyu’s 2020 world record, set at the Four Continents Championships in Seoul, by over two points. Chen clearly knew he had hit his goal — immediately after finishing, he reacted with an intense air punch. You can see a video of his full routine here.

Performed to the romantic French love song, La Bohème by Charles Aznavour, Chen’s routine seemed even more effortless. However, things weren’t always so trouble-free for the athlete. After fumbling several difficult maneuver during his performance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Chen faced immense pressure to redeem himself on the ice.

In a Feb. 4 interview with NBC, Chen credited his increased confidence in 2022 to the experiences he gained during his time at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. “Using, sort of, the experience that I learned in training for [the 2018 Olympics], I think I’ve definitely put myself in a better position to approach [the 2022] Olympics,” he said. “This competition in itself is just so amazing, you know? Every single athlete has put their entire life into perfecting their sport, and then we all get to come together and share it,” he says. “That’s just a really powerful sentiment, and being able to remember that, and constantly remind myself that, I think puts me in a pretty positive mind space.”

Chen placed ahead of Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno of Japan, who took second and third place, respectively. The men’s long program event takes place on Feb. 9, during which Chen will continue to compete for gold. The medal ceremony for men’s single skating is scheduled to take place on Feb. 10.