Few if any athletes have had a run — nicely, a skate — like Nathan Chen since 2018.
Chen completed fifth within the males’s determine skating occasion on the Pyeongchang Video games, following a fiasco of a brief program for seventeenth place with a rousing free skate that he gained to carry him close to the medals podium. Since then, Chen took gold at each competitors till Skate America this previous October. That features three world titles, the one two Grand Prix finals held, and the three most up-to-date of his 5 consecutive U.S. championships.
His stumble to 3rd place at Skate America was a shock to the system. Perhaps not of Chen’s system, however to the remainder of the determine skating world.
“I haven’t actually given it an excessive amount of thought, simply reflections what I might do higher,” mentioned Chen, who will go for a sixth nationwide title in Nashville in early January at what quantities to the U.S. trials for February’s Beijing Olympics. No American man, since two-time Olympic winner Dick Button completed off a string of seven in 1952, has gained the way in which Chen has.
“That’s going to be the identical whether or not or not I win. I’ll all the time look again on and take into consideration what are issues I did nicely, issues I can enhance on? What are issues within the competitors I didn’t love and what are issues I liked within the competitors? These all type of boil down into some precise steps I can speak with (coach Rafael Arutunian) and decide for the following competitors.
“Each expertise has been nice to this point, win or lose, all through the season or by the previous few seasons. Finally what it comes right down to even when a fantastic skate occurs or a nasty skate occurs, I don’t suppose wholesale adjustments ought to happen. Sort of simply persist with your tendencies, persist with what you know the way to do, maintain pushing ahead.
“You realize when one thing occurs it’s very easy to suppose we now have to scrap every part and begin over, begin from zero. That undoubtedly will not be the case. I’m proud of the place I’m and excited to maintain progressing ahead.”
Chen, 22, has taken the boys’s model of the game to new heights. Whereas artistry stays vital in determine skating, and Chen has improved his annually, practically all competitions are gained with jumps. Quadruple jumps.
And whereas Chen remains to be toying with the applications he’ll be utilizing at nationals and maybe in Beijing, all of them will likely be chock filled with quads.
“I’ve had a reasonably lengthy stint of coaching from Skate Canada until now,” he mentioned, referring to his victory the week after ending third at Skate America. “However trying ahead to competing once more. After all, the (Grand Prix) finals being canceled was unlucky, however in the end the security and well being of everyone seems to be crucial factor. The choice was fully comprehensible and the precise one.”
With these finals scrapped attributable to COVID-19 issues, Chen and choreographer Shae-Lynn Bourne had loads of time to think about the routines he’ll use in Nashville after which in China. It’s uncommon for any skater in any self-discipline to make adjustments midseason, significantly in an Olympic season.
However Chen appeared to shrug when requested about it.
“I’ve been taking part in round with completely different layouts and completely different applications I’ve executed. In Nashville my content material will likely be seen there and I’m trying ahead to that,” he mentioned.
“I’m nonetheless taking part in round with completely different applications however I actually favored the 2019-20 applications and I by no means received the prospect to compete them at worlds; the season was minimize prematurely. These are the applications that I had that season … so it does make sense to have the choices to have these applications. I actually like that content material, however the entire content material Shae has executed the previous seasons have been superior, numerous enjoyable stuff to mess around with.
“Nationals is cheap (for beforehand deliberate applications) however additional on within the season are TBD.”
To not be decided is whether or not Chen will make the U.S. workforce for the Olympics. He’s a lock and will likely be a favourite in China, too. He doesn’t see having not competed for 2 months heading to nationals as a drawback.
“We’re all mainly on the identical web page,” Chen famous. “All of the athletes, we wished that (Grand Prix) ultimate to occur, however well being and security is crucial factor. To give you the option have the chance to no less than compete at nationals is superior. To have the ability to have one other competitors, if the Olympics is the following one which will likely be a little bit extra worrying, I consider. I’m trying ahead to it, we’re all sort of in the identical boat, we’re all attempting our greatest, however given circumstances …
“I don’t suppose it actually adjustments an excessive amount of. Sort of persist with the plan of attempting to enhance off what I did beforehand within the season and go from there.”
Extra AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports