There were high hopes for the Olympic debut of Nathan Chen, the 18-year-old figure skater. Sadly, the video of Chen's first 2018 Olympics routine shows why his fall unfortunately overshadowed the performance. This isn't the only video of Chen ice skating in 2018, though, and certainly not the only way to evaluate the teen's talent. And the other videos prove that the figure skater is one to watch as the Olympics continue — no matter what awkward moments may have happened during his debut.
On Friday, Chen finished in fourth place with a score of 80.61 points after he was widely anticipated to be one of the top athletes in the 2018 Olympics. The U.S, took the bronze medal in the team figure skating competition, which concluded on Sunday. But while the Utah native has more chances to prove his talents, the video from Friday may be heartbreaking for those still pulling for him to come out on top.
In the competition, Canada took the gold and Russia took the silver, and many believe the U.S. could've caught up with Team Russia had Chen not experienced his fall during an attempted triple axel and other mistakes (which also included a botched ending and a missed quad toe). Leading up to the games, fans were anticipating Chen's performance as he was publicly setting out to attempt one of the most challenging routines the Olympics has seen. He set high expectations, striving to become the first figure skater to compete with five different types of quadruple jumps: loop, toe loop, Salchow, flip, and Lutz.
He did, however, accomplish the first-ever quad flip in the Olympics. But after his fall, commentator and fellow figure skater Johnny Weir didn't cut him any slack whatsoever. "That's the worst short program I have ever seen from Nathan Chen... disaster," he said.
Just after performing, Chen talked to NBC about the mixed emotions and disappointment he was experiencing. "Honestly, I was really excited. Obviously, I have to give myself a little more time to figure out what happened," he said. "But, I'm really upset that I let the team down... definitely not what I wanted to put out."
According to People, Chen attempted explaining what happened during his performance to reporters. “It wasn’t a nerves thing, I just wasn’t in the right place mentally going in," he said. "I just wasn’t thinking about the right things technically. I was kind of ahead of myself in terms of how to land the jump, how to get out. I wasn’t thinking about how to step in to the jump, which kind of threw me off.”
It seems Chen won't allow this to determine the rest of Olympics run. “No one wants to skate like that on Olympic ice,” he continued to reporters. “But it happens. Just take it and move on.” He's adamant about keeping his focus towards the future and succeeding in upcoming competitions. "I still have two more big programs I have to do so just focus for that and do a better job," he continued to NBC.
The skater had a big reputation to live up to. Chen knew he would be in the Olympics since he was just 10, saying, "I do remember saying that as a little kid. It was more centered on the fact that I'd be age-eligible for 2018," according to The LA Times. At 10, the athlete became the youngest winner ever of the U.S. novice championship. At age 12, he broke the all-time scoring record at the U.S. junior championships.
Fast forward to 2017, Chen continued making history by becoming the first man to land five quadruple jumps in a 4.5 minute program in international skating. Multiple times, he successfully landed two quads in a short program which helped him make it to the Olympics.
Chen will return to the ice on Feb. 15 to compete in the short program and again on Feb. 16 in the free skate. Regardless of his fall, his come-up story is still inspirational and a comeback from Chen would prove he's a fighter on the ice.