Nathan Chen would have a feeling of deja vu after winning his sixth national figure skating title- just like he had won it 4 years ago. But he does hope that the Olympics this time around would be different than the Winter Olympics the previous time. Incidentally, Chen fell down twice in the free skate on Sunday, but still managed to earn his sixth national title- becoming the second man to achieve this in the last 70 years.
After securing his medal, Chen stated that his performance was average, nothing exceptional. Goes without saying, he wouldn’t be able to afford to make the same mistakes against two-time Gold Medalist Yuzuru Hanyu the next month.
Nathan Chen Getting Ready For the Winter Olympics
In the National Championships, Nathan Chen managed to land six quadruple jumps between the two programs, which totaled around 328.01 points and prevailed by 25.53 over a dark horse- 17-year-old Ilia Malinin. Interestingly, only three US men would go to the Olympics, but the second-placed Malinin was passed over for a spot by the selection committee. Along with Chen, Vincent Zhou, and Jason Brown, the third and fourth-place finishers would be tagging along to form the US figure skating team.
This has been the second consecutive time that the silver medalist of the US Men’s championship was left off the Winter Olympic team. Back in 2018, Ross Miner was excluded after getting second place behind Nathan Chen, but the committee still went with Zhou and Adam Rippon based on their consistent performances.
Up until this season, it had been understood that only Hanyu was the perfect rival for Nathan Chen at the Beijing Games, but Zhou had been consistently nipping at his heels. But this time around, the gap was quite big, with Malinin chipping in with 10 more points between them.