Nathan Chen easily held onto his title as reigning U.S. Figure Skating champion

By Maria Pasquini
January 28, 2019 02:56 PM
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Nathan Chen has won his third consecutive U.S. Figuring Skating Championship — and his fellow competitors weren’t even close to knocking him out of the top spot.

On Sunday night, the 19-year-old skater, who has been nicknamed the “quad king,” executed a flawless long program, which was filled with four technically difficult quad jumps. As a result, Chen ended the competition with 342.22 points, 58 more than Vincent Zhou, who won silver.

Chen’s technical prowess was also evident in his free skate performance, for which the athlete scored 228.80 points. As the Associated Press noted, Chen’s point total for the program was higher than the scores of 14 out of the 20 competing skaters — combined.

Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty

“The score definitely took me by surprise,” Chen, who is also a full-time student at Yale University, said on Sunday, according to the outlet.

“It was a lot bigger than I was expecting, but ultimately, scores are scores,” the humble athlete added. “I’m happy with what I did, and hopefully I can continue to do that in other competitions.”

Chen, who is also the current world champion, will defend that title in March.

Nathan Chen
| Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire/Getty
Nathan Chen
| Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire/Getty

“Honestly, it’s incredible,” teammate Jason Brown said as he praised Chen’s masterful performance, according to USA Today.

“I feel so lucky that Nathan is a teammate,” Brown added. “Obviously, we compete against each other at nationals, but every time we’re on the international stage, we are teammates, and I admire him, and it’s unbelievable.”

However, Chen did have one stumble before the night came to a conclusion.

As the singer skated over to the winner’s podium, he tripped on the carpet, but caught himself before he could fall.

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Although Chen’s Olympic debut last year was filled with disappointments, the skater also managed to make history, becoming the first athlete to land six quadruple jumps in a single routine.

Deviating from his planned routine for the men’s event, Chen decided to add the sixth quad not long before he took the ice — without consulting his coach.

“I literally had nothing to lose,” he told reporters afterward. “I just decided to go for it.”

“Definitely, there was a lot about redemption,” he said at the time. “Honestly, I just wanted to leave here satisfied with what I have done, and I definitely am.”

Chen ended up coming in fifth place during the individual competition but managed to pick up a bronze medal earlier in the games, as part of the team skating event.