Watch Nathan Chen Break An Olympic World Record With His Figure Skating Routine

Here’s when you can watch his next event.

Nathan Chen's short program broke a major record at the 2022 Winter Olympics Feb 8. Photo via Getty ...
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There are many productive ways to spend some time off college, like travel, a part-time job, maybe a personal project. Or, if you’re Nathan Chen, you might break a figure skating world record in the middle of your studies at Yale. Casual! The 22-year-old Team USA figure skater began the 2022 Winter Olympics on an impressive note, helping the United States secure a silver medal during the Feb. 4 team event’s short program portion (and earning the second-highest score in that event ever with 111.71 points). But as it turns out, that was just the beginning of Chen’s figure skating domination at the Beijing Olympics.

On Feb. 8, during the men’s individual short program event, the renowned skater’s performance (set to Charles Aznavour’s “La Boheme”) earned him a whopping 113.97 points, a new world record. For reference, he only needed 108.13 points to achieve a lead in the competition. Exceeding that by more than five points only made Chen that much more of a favorite for gold.

As figure skating analyst and former gold medalist Scott Hamilton told Today, “He’s gonna be practically impossible to beat. The only one that can beat him at this point is himself, and I don’t see that happening.” Chen’s short program, which you can watch on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel, was a display of serious technical skill — including a triple axel, quad flip, and quad lutz-triple toe loop combo.

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Aware he just killed the short program, Chen celebrated with a fist-pump, a little un-Chen-like by the skater’s own admission but very much earned all the same. “I almost never do stuff like that. But, I mean, I guess it's indicative of how I felt in that moment,” he told reporters, according to Sports Illustrated. “Very happy. I kind of broke character a little bit there. I was really happy.”

The record-setting performance also served as a personal comeback. During the same event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Chen came in 17th place after falling during his short program. (In a recent interview with Time, Chen cited “doubt and fear” as contributing factors to his nerves that year.)

The Winter Olympics dates for figure skating continue all the way through Feb. 19, but they include ice dance, pair skating, and women’s skating. In other words, Chen won’t participate in all of them. He will, however, compete in the men’s free skating event (aka, the long program) on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 9:30 a.m. Beijing time. Given the time difference, that’s Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

As explained by The New York Times, the long program is an even more comprehensive skills display, lasting four minutes as opposed to the short program’s two minutes and 40 seconds. Whether or not Chen ultimately brings home the gold will depend on his performance here. After the free skate, the long and short program scores will be combined to determine the medalists.