Olympian Nathan Chen has been accepted at Yale, but has no plans to retire from competitive figure skating


From the Olympics to the Ivy League!

Figure skater Nathan Chen has been accepted to Yale University, he confirmed to Ice Network. He also shared the news in an update to his Instagram bio, adding a line that reads “Yale ‘22.” He learned the happy news in Japan last week, where he was performing with the Stars on Ice tour. (He is now prepping to tour with Stars on Ice in the United States, which kicks off on Friday.)

Though the 18-year-old skater — who made history at the Olympics when he landed six quadruple jumps in his free skate in the men’s individual competition — has been accepted to the prestigious university, he has yet to decide if he’ll attend the school this fall.

“Going to Yale next fall is the goal right now,” Chen, who won the gold medal at the figure skating World Championships last month, told Ice Network. “I am going to Bulldog Days, where I will talk about everything and try to figure things out.”

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day 8
Nathan Chen and coach Rafael Arutyunyan at the Olympics
| Credit: Jean Catuffe/Getty

However, there’s one big obstacle in Chen’s way: His coach, Rafael Arutunian, whom he has been working with since he was 11 years old, is based in Los Angeles. Chen says he’s hoping to continue working with Arutunian despite the distance. Though Arutunian told Ice Network that he’d prefer Chen stayed in California, he’s willing to whatever he needs to to continue coaching him.

“I think it will be hard for him,” Arutunian said. “I will help as much as I can. He is my baby. I will be at his side, whatever happens.”

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Chen, who previously said that he is interested in pursuing a career in medicine after he retires from skating, admits there’s still a lot of decisions to make about his future.

“Ultimately, the only thing [certain] right now is that I have been admitted to Yale, and I still want to continue skating,” he said. “I have no idea what will happen in the next month, let alone the next four years.”

Nathan Chen

One thing that is certain? Even if Chen does head to New Haven in the fall, that does not mean he’s done skating competitively.

Chen has been competing at the senior international level for less than two years, so he says he’s not ready to consider retirement just yet — especially with the 2022 Olympics in Beijing on the (distant) horizon.

“I’m just barely [two seasons] at the senior level, and I feel like I have a lot more to do in the sport,” Chen said. “I don’t think it’s my time to retire yet.”