HomeBad Ass AsiansNathan Chen Breaks Record with Six Quads, but Falls Short of Medal

Nathan Chen Breaks Record with Six Quads, but Falls Short of Medal

Nathan Chen
Nathan Chen

Views from the Edge
Where has he been? The Nathan Chen we were expecting to see finally showed up Friday with an unprecedented six quadruple jumps in his skating routine.
His dazzling performance that had the audience cheering and gasping, almost pulled off the impossible, coming from 17th place to almost medaling. With his record score of 215.08 points, Chen actually won the long program segment of the men’s figure skating and held the bronze medal position until the last two skaters performed strong enough to edge out Chen’s quad attack.

“I definitely did want to redeem myself after the two short programs and I think I did here,” said Chen, who had come into Gangneung Ice Arena undefeated and as a medal favorite.


Chen, 18, had also struggled skating his short program in the figure skating team event, in which Team USA won the bronze medal.
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan became the first male skater since Dick Button of Team USA in 1948 and 1952 to win back-to-back Olympic titles. Hanyu finished with an Olympic record total of 317.85, followed by teammate Shoma Uno, who edged Javier Fernandez of Spain, 306.90 to 305.24.


Chen finished in fifth place with a total score of 297.35 points.


Vincent Zhou, the youngest member of Team USA at age 17, was sixth with 276.69 while 28-year-old Adam Rippon was 10th (259.36). All three Team USA skaters finished in the top 10 for the 15th time in Olympic history.


Chen, who last year became the first skater to land five quads in a program, had originally planned five for his free skate Saturday.
But after his two disastrous short programs, in which he made mistakes on his jumps and scored in the low 80s — about 20 points lower than expected — Chen decided he was going to show he truly was the “Quad King.”


“It was sort of an anger thing,” he said. “I was just like, ‘Oh screw it, I’m going to try it. At this point I have literally nothing to lose. I’ll just go for it. And then I was like, ‘Well I can’t think about that right now. I can’t dwell on it. I’ll readjust in the morning, rethink about it.”


He said it was too early in the morning to try all the quads. His even gave his coach, Rafael Arutunian, a surprise when he threw in the sixth quad.


“That was me,” Chen said. “I didn’t even tell him I was doing that.”


Five of the six quads were clean, as Chen put his hand down on a quad flip, his extra jump.


“I’m glad I was able to show myself and show everyone else that I can bounce back from a bad performance,” he said. “And honestly, I am human, I make mistakes. Unfortunately I had been having a really bad time. But I’m really happy with what I did here.”


Chen will have four years to mull over what might have been. He’ll only be 22 years old when the next Olympics convene in China.


Chen will have to be careful. His teammate Zhou surprised everyone with his Olympic performance.


The U.S. could very well have two medal finishers four years from now.


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