HomeBad Ass AsiansFuture Bright for Bronze Medalist Nathan Chen

Future Bright for Bronze Medalist Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen
Nathan Chen

By Ed Diokno

While Maia and Alex Shibutani attracted most of the attention of Asian Americans at the U.S. Figure Skating championships last week by capturing first in Ice Dance, another Asian American was also generating a lot of excitement by making a huge statement to the ice skating world: Watch out for Nathan Chen.

Sixteen-year old Nathan made history at the national championships by landing four quadruple jumps in his long program, more than any American skater ever, giving him a total of six over the two days of competition, a previously unthinkable number for a U.S. skater.

No American man has ever done more than three in an entire competition. By comparison, Yuzuru Hanyu, the 2014 Olympic champion, recently did a combined five quads in two performances – two in the short and three in the long. Chen is the United State’s best bet to have a chance to keep up with Hanoi’s athletic ability.

RELATED: Shibutani siblings win the gold

“It was a big risk for me, but I thought this would be the best time to do it,” said Nathan. “I’m trying to set myself up as a senior skater, and I think this is a big step for me.”

However, four quads wasn’t enough to win. Nathan only placed third. Yes, third. Third place  is enough to allow him to compete at the world championship in Boston a month from now.

He was beat by more experienced – but traditional skaters, Adam Rippon and Max Aaron, both of whom were less athletic than Chen but skated with more “grace” and fluidity.

Judging of the ice skating competition has always been open for debate. The traditionalist want grace – almost a dance – to be emphasized while others argue that in the Olympics, the athletic ability should be given more weight. You know what they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It is such a subjective judgement.
Chen’s energetic performance woke up the audience and people are talking about the 2018 Olympics for the teenager. The teenager will have two years to work on that “grace” thing.
Madison Chock & Evan Bates
Madison Chock & Evan Bates

Joining the Shibutani siblings and Nathan Chen will be Hawaiian-born Madison Chock and Evan Bates. The veteran team will compete in ice dance along with the Shibutani’s at the world championship in Boston.

Waiting in the wings are first alternate Mirai Nagasu in Women’s Figure Skating and for Pairs, the first alternate team of Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran and third alternate, Jessica Calalang and Zack Sichu.

Nagasu and the Tran/Castelli team will represent the U.S. in the Four Continents Figure Skating championship that will be held in Taipei in February.


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